When I found out where W was going to school this year one of the first things that popped into my head was, “I bet we could walk to school!” But as soon as I thought it I felt exhausted by the idea. Ugh. It would be so hot. And how could I get him to school at the correct time and then turn around and get myself to school before my classes started?
And yet the basic idea of walking to school DID excite me. I thought about how nice it would be to have that time with W. How great it would be to start so many days with a good walk. How it would feel to be so connected in conversation or silence.
It needed to happen. Like many things in my life right now, I just had to push through the road blocks. Time and weather (specifically heat) were my biggest deterrents for walking W to school. Both of these problems were pretty much eliminated when I found out about his school’s morning breakfast program. He could go to school early, the temperature was much more tolerable earlier in the day, and I was able to make it to college in time for my classes.
And so we walk.
We start off every morning taking my mom to the regional train station, and then I park the car at a church near the station. Originally I wanted to drive back home and walk from there, but school traffic makes it take forever to drive back home. Parking at the church makes it easier for me to get back on the road towards college.
While walking W and I talk about the day. I get so many more stories out of him on the way to school than I do in the afternoon. He asks me about my classes and we make jokes about homework. When we get near his school I let him run ahead to join friends who are waiting by the cafeteria door. I hover on the playground black top to make sure he goes in and he always calls out, “have a good day!” Which cracks me up – since that is what I used to call out to him when I left him in his classroom a year ago in kindergarten.
Walking back to my car without him has gotten easier. I honestly didn’t expect it to be difficult. But the first several days I felt so much loss and emptiness. There was so much silence.
The walking has helped spark some positive daily changes that needed to happen. For starters it has helped me focus on being more active during the day. I used to have one of those wearable fitness trackers and I loved it, but it snapped off and was never seen again. I remembered how motivated I was by tracking my daily activity so I found a free app to use on my phone. Mom and I are now competitive with our steps during the day. I doubt I would have given steps any consideration if I wasn’t walking every morning.
I’ve also been making sleep a priority. I know I will never fully thrive with my sleep schedule until I can convince W to stop waking me up when he wakes up. (seriously – WHEN will he stop needing a witness to his wake up?!) But I have started to go to bed pretty soon after I tuck him in. It still never feels like enough, but I am hoping the change in seasons will help.
So many people suffer from seasonal SAD and are about to experience the downside swing – I am on the flip side. I have been in a seasonal (and situational) depression for the entire summer. A day where I don’t break out into a weather induced flop sweat is a REALLY great day for my mental health.
So about that situational depression. Ugh. I alluded to it briefly in my TEN YEAR post, but I might as well just come on out with it so I can process and move on. The day before I started school I found out that one of my long-standing freelance writing jobs was shifting everyone’s schedule. And by shifting I really mean reducing. So income I had expected and budgeted for is no longer happening. And because I just reshuffled my life to go back to school I am not in an ideal position to jump into a standard job search and recover.
I had one of my typical panic attacks and for a moment worried that I should withdraw from school. But then I realized: NO WAY. I can not do that. First of all – school is paid for, thank you very much to my hard work to make THAT happen. And second of all – the big reason for me to be at school is so I can get skills to have job security. I simply need to toughen up and soldier through.
It is incredibly terrifying to be in this position of looking for work while also still working for other freelance clients while also going to school while also spending hours and hours on OMG homework. But I will make it work. I have to.
Meanwhile I have walking to school with W to keep me grounded. I have great friends. I have an amazing mom. I have brilliant professors. I have belief in myself.