I have never seen a kid so ready for school, like Olivia was on her first day. I on the other hand, not so much. Call it the Mommy pains of having my last baby go off to school or the fact I wasn’t ready to let go. I wasn’t ready to share her with the world. I wasn’t ready for someone else to share my role with her for eight hours a day, five days a week. For the first time I could see my baby girl growing into a big girl ready to take on kindergarten and that scared the hell out of me. It was happening, time was passing by and a new chapter was beginning in our lives; and I was reluctant to accept. I even contemplated with my husband to hold her back from going for another year. It took time to realize Olivia needed to experience this next step, we couldn’t keep our little girl in a bubble for the rest of her life. She needed to have the opportunity to spread her wings and we needed to give her the space to do so.
So many worries filled my thoughts. Would she be understood? Could they understand and interpret her nonverbal queues? Would her peers accept her and love her the way she always has been with us? What if she became scared or nervous, who would comfort her? Would she be teased or mistreated? Every possible fear and scenario my mind could conjure filled my head.
My husband and I sat and spoke with other parents of special needs children we knew. Many of them offered fantastic advice and the common point each of them shared was it was the best decision they had ever made. Many of their children blossomed in school. Being around others their own age, the kids felt confident and began showing signs of development they hadn’t shown before. Not a single parent said to us that it had a negative impact on their child.
Olivia started school in September and never have I seen her so happy! She has made many friends who love, understand and completely accept her for her. She has an outrageously wonderful education team. These ladies are caring, kind, compassionate and have an abundance of patience and time for not only Olivia, but all of her classmates. I give them an astounding amount of respect for the jobs they do. I appreciate them more than they will ever know. I value the time they take in writing notes in Olivia’s agenda so I can feel a sense of not only how her day went, but also to hear about the “funny” happenings of a group of kindergarteners. I appreciate the few moments they take in the mornings to speak with me about how her night/evening went or how they will go out of their way to show me what she has been working on. Then there is the school staff who went above and beyond to make Olivia’s transition flawless. They will never understand how awesome that made us feel to know so many individuals cared so deeply for our child.
Olivia, like I said is loving every minute of being at school. From the many greetings she gets while we pass through the halls to the many students who enjoy approaching her for a hug or fist pump. I never thought I could share her with anyone, but now I see this is her purpose…to share and spread love.
Although it was a difficult step to take, I’m so happy we took this step together, for her.