You know, there's something I don't understand. I am a good teacher. I love my kids and I care fiercely about all of them even the ones that are not so easy to love. My students can and have thrown anything at me and I have risen to the demands of the situation and overcome all odds. A child falls off of the monkey bars and directly onto her head after hanging by her knees-no problem-Muddy to the rescue. A portable basketball goal comes crashing down on a 7 year-old boy's head right in front of me, causing a gaping gash in his temple-no problem, I'm on it. A child with peanut allergies is exposed to peanuts, hand me the epipen and I save the day. A homeless intruder walks into the breezeway next to my classroom, I'm out the door to intercept and detain him until the police come (okay, so I actually just sat and talked to him on the bench outside, I didn't have him in a chokehold or anything). But I do not panic in any situation when it comes to my job.
When it comes to being a mom, however, well that's another story. Sometimes I feel like the world's biggest failure as a mom because I can't overcome my daughter's issues. E suffers from severe anxiety. She comes by it honestly, my mother-in-law, my mother, my husband and I all suffer from anxiety. But E's is so bad that we have sought counseling for her. We work with it, but occasionally it overwhelms us. When she came back from sleepaway camp, she spent the next week attached to my hip, refusing to do anything or go anywhere. If I wasn't right there forcing her to read, or play a game, or be with a friend, she sat like a lump as close as possible to me. It drove me crazy and I felt horrible for needing to be so forceful to overcome it.
E has started orthodontic treatment and currently has an expander in her mouth that I have to crank every night. She swears to me it doesn't hurt, but I dread the evening hours because I know that I am going to have to widen that gap just a little and potentially cause her pain. I get a sympathy headache every time I do it even though she is just fine. If she were one of my students, it wouldn't even cause me a second's pause.
We went to a church picnic at a congregant's house on the water today and while E was playing on the deck, she got a splinter in her hand. I was trying to use a needle to get it out, making sure to be ever so gentle, but it wouldn't budge. Ever since my family (including E) had MRSA, she has been terrified of needles. There I was, scraping at the skin, holding her hand fairly tightly because she was trying to pull away and the next thing I know she was having a mini-seizure and slumping over the table. Her eyes were glazed over, her lips turned blue and she had a white ring around her mouth. I kept trying to ask her questions and she couldn't understand what I was saying, she just kept saying, "I don't know, Mommy." I realized she was in trouble, but I was all alone inside the house so I dragged her outside and started screaming for help. The one good thing about this church is that an inordinate amount of the members are medical or law enforcement. A life long nurse and a sheriff came rushing to my side and helped me sit E down on the bench. They checked E over and told me not to panic, that E was okay even though she was still very out of it.
We took E back inside and the nurse gave E some orange juice just in case her sugar levels had dropped (she hadn't eaten very much today for as much as she played) and told me just to let E lie down on the couch. I did that and after about 10 minutes of resting E was ready to eat something. 20 minutes later she was out jet skiing. I was still freaking out. It took me a while to realize that E had hyperventilated when I was trying to get the splinter out. I was afraid she was having an epileptic seizure or had diabetes, or worse yet, a brain tumor. Then I sat there questioning over and over again whether I should have insisted that she go to the hospital, but all of the medical people told me no, that she would have been subjected to a lot of needles and radiation-oriented tests when she had all the classic signs of hyperventilation.
And here I am, left to wonder and second-guess myself, because what if I made the wrong choice? Yet, if she were my student, there would have been no indecision on my part. I would have known what to do. But she's not a student, she's my flesh and blood and seeing her in that state terrified me. I know I am going to be watching her like a hawk for the next week.
And for those of you who wonder why I don't have her on medicine, she doesn't suffer from depression. Both of the psychological professionals I have talked to about her feel like her anxiety would be better served by training her how to manage these attacks. But man, I hope that was the last one. Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to make it as a parent.