I walk up to the park to lay out a blanket under a rooty tree in the shade. Looking at the small blue chairs lined up close to the tree I know this is a good spot–I want a front row seat.
June 6, 2008-not only is it Jenna’s 7th birthday but it is Ryan’s preschool graduation. He has done it again…surpassed our expectations. His teacher thinks he’s ready to go on to kindergarten at our neighborhood school. Another unexpected event. I had resigned myself to him attending this school that was more tailored to special ed. I didn’t even know our school had any special ed services. Jenna has been there two years and I hadn’t really noticed. But far be it for me to question—I am just thrilled he will be “mainstreamed”. That word always evokes an image of salmon swimming upstream. But whatever picture I have, it means he gets to be a real kid…in a real class, with “typical” kids. The district gave us a full time one to-one aide at our third IEP—even though we have become semi-professional at them, they still evoke so much stress. But, I don’t want to think about boring meetings and minutia right now, I want to allow these blessings that are raining on me to drench me.
The park for the ceremony is directly next to the school he attends. And across a wide ray of green grass I see a little blonde head running towards me. He is running ahead of his aide and his best friend, Tanner. Apparently they were allowed to leave a few minutes ahead of the rest of the class. He calls out “Momma!”–still the most beautiful word spoken, and I stand up. He breaks into a wide grin as he runs.
Whenever he smiles the light that hits his eyes–even sunlight–pales in comparison, and outside in this bright light he is showing the sunshine up. He runs to me, and I scoop him up, both of us laughing. Never taking for granted a hug or kiss from him. Bliss. True bliss is oozing out my pores.
“Let’s go Ry, Ry!” His aide says and I send him away with a playful swat on his behind to join his class. They begin to put on their handmade graduation hats and line-up. I look at him and wonder what other people must see. Laughing and playing with his buddies, he looks so “normal”. Perhaps because he’s in line with other special ed kids, but I can’t help thinking he looks so much like…a typical kid. I cannot stop the tears and do not even try until the ceremony is over.
As each child takes their “diploma” I am sailing down memory lane with select moments in his pre-school class.
The preschool was such a wonderful place for him—he overcame so much and achieved all he set out and more. We are so lucky to have this school, his amazing teacher, and all the aides. They have collectively propelled him out to the real world. What an accomplishment. Even though summer starts today, I can’t wait for September. So I can finally have both my kids at the same school, together, at last…just like everybody else.