Today was our little man’s first day of school… Or rather, daycare. What a reality check for this mama! Time is passing and William is not a little baby anymore, he is growing up.
We have been preparing for this day for a while now; we had our first meeting with the daycare staff in July, and more meetings with his occupational and physiotherapists at the daycare to ensure that everything was set up and William would have the things he needs to enjoy this new adventure.
At our last meeting on site, William happily ran around inside and out, met his teacher and peers, and really loved the big resource room with all the new toys. I was really impressed with the space and how accessible it is for children of all needs. I have to say, we are so lucky to have a brand new school open this year in our back yard… I can see it from my side porch across the park, it is that close. Growing up I certainly did not have anything like this- our country school was an hour bus ride each way and built in 1967!
Despite being able to see the school from my house, I was/am still anxious about this new transition. I think all parents feel this way, but when your child has special needs, the weight is much greater. Will my child be accepted by his peers, will he be teased or rejected because he can’t communicate and uses a walker? Will other kids push his walker around and think it’s a joke, when it really isn’t and he hates when people do this. Will the staff treat him like any other child, or will they coddle him and stunt this exercise in independence, or worse, not know how to meet his needs or not care to? So far, our experience has been positive, but there is always the mother bear inside, aware of possible danger and threatening to rise up at the slightest issue. I think that’s also another cross to bear for special-needs parents.
This morning when I dropped him off William was happy to be there, knew where he was, and was excited. When I went to leave he did cry, but this is typical, and I am told he settled down to play with the other kids. A little boy came over while I was leaving and it looked like William had started to make a friend. I almost cried right there, I could feel my eyes sting and had to hold it back!
I am excited for William to go on this new adventure, and I know his intelligent little brain will blossom with this added stimulation. I keep telling myself that this is a good thing, a natural thing, a needed thing. But part of me also feels that need to hold him close, keep him safe, and also to be needed by him. I will confess that I was very glad that he tried to run to me when I picked him up (his wheel got stuck on some furniture) and gave me a big smile and a hug. He still needs me, I don’t think that will ever change 🙂