Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anxious = Thanks

The past few months have been challenging with Makenzie.  Yes, this post is about being a Mama with nerves about her kid.  A Mama who wishes she could take away any ounce of insecurity and replace it with intense confidence.  A Mama who is trying to find teaching lessons in the midst of challenging lessons.  Because this is a Mama who is forever thankful for her kid who is making her stronger in parenting by pushing her every button of confidence in self, patience and strength.

Makenzie has a sense of anxiety that comes on very strong and intense.  She has been so intense she got me running to the bread basket again. We haven't been able to figure out if it is because losing the formulating time in Fall of 1st grade (she was only 2 weeks of school all of her Fall 1st grade), being in the hospital, juggling life after, having friends whom she connected with move away after she "moved" back, juggling with her two parents who deal with life differently, or just Makenzie being 7.  Mind you, we weren't sure if it was just us who felt her intensity. But found out at her Parent - Teacher meeting in November, it wasn't.

Makenzie's teacher shared with Jack and I that she is doing phenomenal academically. She said Bug has a sense of confidence in her reading and orator skills. She shared Makenzie will read and other kids will listen...she developed a confidence in being "on" when she knows it's her turn to tell the story.  But, Makenzie has developed a blank stare with eyes as big as saucers when she doesn't know what is going to happen. Be it Math, English, a Recess change, unexpected day shift, or a challenge that she might not excel at. She develops nerves that sometimes can't be calmed quickly...despite being an Encyclopedia and reading like 4th graders.  She has excelled academically, despite missing half of 1st grade, but continues to get anxious when not certain of the definite outcome. Where this comes from; nobody knows. We are trying to figure it out. We are working at getting to the root and helping her "breath easier".  We are trying to instill a greater sense of confidence and security that everything will be ok and she is going to be fine.

Last January 2011, when Makenzie started school post hospitalization, we were informed to just let her roll with it and gradually bring her into therapy.  Mind you, some parents would think "my kid in therapy. NO way!". But we were of the mindset if it makes school and life easier, let her go forth and prosper.  Yet, Makenzie assimilated and didn't show signs of anxiety. She was more at "peace" and able to genuinely digest the feelings of her peers.  When a peer was hurt on the playground, she was quick to rush and make sure they were ok.  If two were in a fight, she would try to console them. But as time progressed when there was some girl drama, which is common for young girls, and Makenzie started to get more involved.  Summer 2011 came, we were all able to breath, and then boom, back in it again in the Fall.  To say this is exhausting is an understatement. Now in 2nd grade there are days when she doesn't want to leave home for school. She's been anxious about doing the Monkey Bars perfect, while at the same time she has been blissful in her confidence with playing tag and running in PE.  It is a
see-saw of up one day and down the next.

Right now we are getting some more tools to help Makenzie. She is so smart that she asked why she was to talk to her "big friend" and other kids don't. Straight face she said, "Mom, is that a therapist? Those are who adults talk to with secrets, right? Aren't you checking into some for yourself as well?". Nothing get's past her...I know at age 15 I am in so much trouble. But in some ways....yep actually I know she'll outsmart me all the time. I am a bit thankful for that too.

I am thankful that Makenzie is facing challenges, while also talking about how they affect her inside.
I am beyond thankful that Makenzie can laugh a full belly laugh and make you inspired to laugh too.
I am thankful that although Makenzie personalizes other kids' pain, she is empathetic to do so.
I am thankful Makenzie loves so deeply that it hurts her if she doesn't know what is going to happen when someone is sick, in pain, or hurt themselves.
I am thankful how despite all that has happened, Makenzie keeps looking forward with a positive outlook. She may be anxious at times, but she continues to ponder, "What adventure is next?".
I am thankful through the challenging meltdowns, Makenzie can come back and continue moving forward with sparkle in her eyes.
I am thankful to be Makenzie's Mom for she helps allow me to breath every night. She has made me face challenges with being a parent, since it forces me to know that sometimes loving her means I don't have all the answers to make it better.  To LOVE her with all my heart equates stepping back, riding the see saw with her, and learning what each moment will bring.

I am thankful that she chose me as her Mom on April 12, 2004. And I am forever thankful she always says, "I love you Mom. Thank You".

"Dear Mom, You are the best. Love, Makenzie" 
I am forever thankful.
1.21.12- Bug surprised me with a morning surprise of the beautiful artwork below.


  1. How long has she been talking to her big friend? And what does her big friend say?

    1. She just started this week, so I haven't gotten feedback yet. She has been incredible with journaling the past few years, and with drawing pictures. I feel fortunate for that.

  2. It sounds like you are doing all the right things, Erin. Sometimes these things just take time to heal. Hang in there.

    1. Ah thanks Mary Jo. I feel ok in many ways, but also wish I could do more to calm her when I see her starting to get anxious. So grateful she journals and draws and interestingly enough, she is this silly spirited kid and then ... boom get's anxious in a way that is more serious than I'd seen before. Thanks for your thoughts...


I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey