It rang for Karen. As we near the end of the school year, and Karen is going on almost 2 months of good behavior at school, I got a call that almost had me in tears.

For several weeks, Karen’s been asking me to call a girlfriend’s mother to arrange a play date. I had put it off because I knew how many of the mothers considered Karen an inappropriate friend for their daughters due to her behavior. While I hadn’t had a complaint from this particular mother, and Karen promised that she had never done anything to the girl, I was afraid to call. The last time I picked Karen up from school and the girls both asked me if they can meet up one afternoon, I gave the girl my phone number, and suggested that her mom could give me a call so we could arrange something.

I was thrilled to get a phone call at the end of last week from the girl’s mother inviting Karen over this afternoon. She sounded so nice on the phone and didn’t ask any of the nervous questions I’ve come to expect. The daughter also appears to be quiet and thoughtful.

Karen usually behaved well whenever she was invited to friends’ homes in the past, so I’m sure today will go well. But last night when we talked about her expectations for today, she told me she was nervous about going. In kindergarten, she never exhibited any inhibitions about inviting herself over to someone new. She even approached parents and asked them if she could come over one afternoon. The fact that she is nervous fits with her overall concern that she will crack, and the bad behavior will again alight upon her, undoing all the good work she’s done on herself over the past two years.

She is very aware of the changes in her behavior, primarily because she’s working so hard to maintain control at school, even under stress. She’s also gotten a lot of positive feedback, especially from us. She goes out of her way to be friendly and social with the girls in her class. She’s been generous with all her school supplies and her teacher reports that she often helps others. But I think there are moments every day when she fears losing control will send her spiraling downwards to the depths she was in several months ago. Being nervous about her first visit to a new friend in months fits with the fear of a relapse. But I think her willpower and awareness will keep her safe from herself.

Dare I post this before I pick her up and know how it went?