I sit on my couch, completely paralyzed in disbelief that this is really happening. I stare at the bath rug, the rug grandma bought you when you came home from the hospital to help you sit, to help you roll, to help you with the foundational skills of getting stronger. It is the same bath rug that you will be taking to school on your first day. I am sure that you will have many happy memories on that rug, that you will learn lots of new things, and you will experience life outside of being with mommy. I know, it is a rug, get real...right? I never thought I would be so emotional over a silly rug!
I never allowed myself to get to this point where you would be going to school. It's a good thing, really it is. It means you are strong enough, you are ready, and you have many more skills to learn. I have been so wrapped up in your medical issues, your IEP, the day to day of adjusting to this new life with you and your sisters. I have been processing all that we have been through and I have been trying to play catch up with your sisters from time I missed out on with them. I have been trying to share your story in hopes to change other people's perspectives about Down syndrome. I have been busy helping others as a way to try to show my gratefulness of all those who gave to us when I was not sure how to put one foot in front of the next.
It is not that I never thought of your future, because I did. I was in the public school far before I needed to explaining to them who your are and what your needs would be. I researched and talked with people to figure out what the best transition route would be for you. I definitely have done my homework on it, but I never imagined what it would be like to get you ready and actually hand you off to someone other than a surgeon or doctor.
I talked with your teacher (I will just clarify, we have chose to send your to the private school your sisters attend for many reasons, and we are still working out the details of your IEP, but you will get home services) the other day. I am so impressed. Lydia, you will be having a teacher who wants you there, who is willing to work with you and me, and who is completely passionate about teaching. I have to say, for many reasons, this makes the process so much easier for me.
So as I prepare to get you ready for school, I feel lost. There is a feeling of overwhelming pride and excitement. There were many days that I thought that we would never be able to take you home, much less be at the point that we are sending you to school. There are days when I hope and pray that I can send you away to just get a little break. And then I feel guilty as I want to soak in every single moment with you and your sisters.
Last night was preview night. I had tears in my eyes as I saw your name tag. I saw your special mats on the shelf for changing you and sleeping. I looked around the room and saw an environment where you can learn and be safe. I have prayed for this moment but I have not prepared myself for it. I know that every child in that class, as well as the teacher, will learn so much from you this year. I know that you will really thrive in this environment and you need this. I know you will do great so forgive mommy if she is sad or seems unhappy for you. I am not. You are growing up before my very eyes, you are doing things I never thought were possible and I am so proud of you. You continue to amaze me every day and I am so full of joy.
Lydia, you are at home in this school. You enter the door with force and confidence. You walk down the hallways and wave to everyone, giving Pastor knucks every day. You sit on Miss Leeds' lap and go through her drawers. You sit in your sister's desks and pretend you belong there. You are not afraid of the high schoolers and often give them a run for their money. You belong there and that does this momma's heart good.
To find a school like this is such a blessing. To know that the staff truly wants her to be there and they really want to teach her. To know that in every decision they have her very best interest in mind, I really can't put into words what that means. I am glad because it has given me a peace as I accept that she really is going to school.
While we don't know if you will be healthy enough to make the year or how long you can handle in the classroom each day; I am happy you have this opportunity. I am excited to see your new skills, hopefully you will start talking soon and maybe even eating better. I am excited you will make many new friends and play with others in a more public setting.
It is really happening, you are really going off to school this year. I am excited, but I do have to say that I feel lost. And, mom will be at school every day you are. That was part of our agreement, just in case there is an issue with you choking or something. But you will walk in next Tuesday as a preschooler. You will sport your back pack on your back, packed with your lunch and snack. You will hang it up on your very own hook and walk into your room. You will soon forget about mom until I come to see you at the end of your day. I am sure you will embrace me and continue to be the HUGE stinker you have been lately. The few moments of quiet will be a welcomed change for me, but my heart will break just a little knowing my girls are growing up. Allowing them to soar and become the person God desired them to be is so hard.
I pray for you Lydia and your first day of school. I pray for you and your sister to grow up and be the girls God desires you to be. I pray that the choices that your daddy and I have made are just right for you. I pray that your school gives you the opportunity to soar, experience new things, grow, and have fun. It's really happening baby girl, you are really going off to school. I am excited to watch you grown and learn.
I will update after her first day!