Friday, July 7, 2017

From Mommy #4 - Probably don't read this until you're older so you'll understand

Dear Jonas,

Life seems to be making you more and more anxious lately. And while that is worrisome by itself, you are also starting all-day kindergarten this fall, and Spencer and I want to make certain that we don't have a repeat of last school year when anxiety shut you down. 

We are constantly trying to uncover your inner workings and whenever we make a major discovery I always feel both relieved and heartsick; I'm so glad we helped you but I'm so sad that you had to struggle for so long while we were clueless. We figured out that the integrated classroom was not right for you, and the minute we took you out we saw that cloud of anxiety dissipate. Now at therapy we're learning the process of "graduated exposure" and how to give you enough time and attention to adjust to anxiety-provoking situations and how that process requires a great deal of dedicated Katie-Spencer-Jonas time. The little we've been able to implement of this strategy has already lessened your anxiety so much. 

And as Spencer and I talked through what this new strategy will look like going forward, I realized it wasn't going to be possible if I was still working. So we decided I'd quit. 

I quit despite the fear of not knowing what my life will look like from now on. I quit despite the fear, sadness, and instability of losing a major part of my identity. I quit despite the damage it will do to the career I always felt called to do and then worked so hard to achieve. I quit despite the fact that it meant leaving my career in the same week that we left our best friends back east when we came home. I quit despite knowing that it would isolate me from work friends and from mom friends who are either going back to work/school now that their kids are all in school or who have several kids and have busier schedules. 

But if we're weighing the pros and cons of this decision, each of those cons is like a grain of sand compared to the Jupiter-sized pro of making sure that you are happy and well-adjusted. 

The decision was validated when we returned from our trip back east which included nearly two weeks of uninterrupted Katie-Jonas time along with practicing gradually adjusting to anxiety-provoking situations and there was an immediate change in you; life isn't making you so anxious anymore and it's already so clear that this is the right path for you.

Obviously I would do anything for you. And I don't understand how it works but somehow you are the saving grace from the challenges we face with you. In other words, life is really hard with a child who has such challenging and often confounding needs, but being with you helps me get through it. And that either makes no sense at all or is stupidly obvious, but I can't tell which. 

All my love and every part of me,



  1. I know it's not for everyone, but being able to be there for my kids and even when there are in school, to be able to come to class and help, has been the best decision for me, Katie. True, so much of who you are has changed, but when you are old and look back on this moment, I doubt that you will say I spent way too much time with my son, I wish I worked instead. It goes so fast. Good luck in your new adventure.

  2. Oh Katie, you have captured so beautifully the hard decisions every mother faces who has a child with challenges in their lives. You are a stellar mom and I am so proud of you!!

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