Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of Kindergarten

Today was the first day of Kindergarten. Here I sit, waiting to pick up the bravest soul I have ever met. This morning I left our house with a very excited 5 year old. About 45 minutes later I came home with a humble heart. I have never in my life been as brave as my own child. In his short 5 years he has already surpassed his Mama in the courage department. I wonder how much more he will accomplish in his life that I'd never had the courage to do. I wonder how much easier life would be for him if only he were like the other kids. I drove him wishing that the only thing he had to worry about was remembering his lunchbox. I drove home hearing the words he repeated over and over...."I'm gonna miss you Mom."

My heart ripped in two when I saw him wandering the classroom glancing back with his tiny bottom lip quivering, "I'm gonna miss you Mom". And I walked out. I had to. I'll always have to let him find HIS way....I know this. When we recently received James' autism/PDD-NOS diagnosis I convinced myself that we would never use it as a crutch or let ourselves feel sorry for James or our family...and yet today I found myself wishing it away. I was set on embracing it and allowing it in, because afterall, it is a part of James...it is a TINY part, but it's there.

While the other children had just as many jitters and were shy and clinging to Mommies, my Jamesie had a ton more to contend with. He couldn't go into the gym to line up with the other students because it was just too much....noise, smells, sights, sensory overload....I wish I could tell his tiny little mind to calm down and not worry about everything around him. But I can't...it is something that in the next few years, he will learn. He will learn to cope and tell his own mind to calm down...right now that is what Mommy does...

He smiled and said hi to his old preschool teacher as we passed her in the hall. He smiled as we went into his new class...He is so ready. He put his things where they belonged and gave me our usual "kiss, hug, and high five Mom"...We did that twice, just because we can ;) Then his lip started to quiver and he got quiet. He is never quiet..

He slowly walked away knowing I had to go. He didn't want me to leave him there but he knew I had to. Never once did he ask me to stay. Never once did he ask to leave with me, but I knew he'd jump in my arms if I offered him the chance....he knew what was happening and where he had to be. So he said "I'm gonna miss you Mom", to which I replied "I'm gonna miss you too Buddy, but I'll be right back."

And then I walked out...and then hurriedly got out of there. I couldn't fight back the tears as I reached the sidewalk...then I sobbed, all the way to the car, to Jarrod's work, on the phone with my Mom, and until I reached home. The only reason I am not sobbing now is because it took 3 hours for the redness to leave my face and in 3 hours I will be with my boy. I could never show him my tears...he wouldn't just say "It's ok Mom." He would need to know why I was crying. And I can't lie to him....

I'm crying because I want it to be easier for him...I don't want him to worry about things. I don't want things to overwhelm him, I don't want it to be hard....but it has to be.

Not just for him, but for all of us. Life isn't easy...sometimes we go it alone. We fail, and we fail often. We are scared, and we are scared often...of losing someone, of failing, of the dark, of monsters, of being left out...but the truth is life is hard sometimes...and it's lonely at times...but without knowing those feelings and experiencing adversity, we wouldn't see how fun life can be. We need to appreciate the calm...the times when we are not worrying, the times when we are just at home eating chicken nuggets and playing with our farm toys...the times when we are reading to our kids when they are in the bathtub, or cuddling them at night after "just one more story." We have to miss people sometimes, so when we see them, our hugs are tighter and mean so much more.

My James is a brave kid...He walked away with his mind going crazy with new things and just said "I'm gonna miss you Mom".....In that tiny moment in my life, he became my hero. He became someone to look up to. He became, for me, the picture of courage...I look up to someone I have to look down to see....That moment in my life, makes any struggle or tear worth it.

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Frederick Douglass

EDIT: I thought I should add that my boy had an amazing day. He and the teacher both gave me 2 thumbs up for a great day. I asked him ow his day was and he said  "I like Kindergarten Mom." I asked if his teacher was nice and he said "Yes Mom, Mrs. Corrigan is nice and I'm nice too.".....and then I relaxed, for the first time in like, ever....my kiddo will make it in this world...even when it's hard, even when some might think it impossible....He WILL far exceed any success I can even imagine. And he will always be my little Hero.

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