Today when I dropped Abi off at school she was squealing. Literally CACKLING at how excited she was to be there. Every morning one of Abi’s teacher’s assistants meets us outside and on the cold winter days she grabs the wheelchair, and I grab Abi and her backpack, and we all run inside together. Once inside, I put Abi in her chair. When it isn’t winter, I put her in her chair outside- but when the cold makes her muscles cramp painfully, there’s no time for scooting and strapping into a chair… it’s just “Go! Go! Go!”
When Abi was younger (not as heavy and not as tall) this was no big deal. I would run to the front doors with her in my right arm and the wheelchair in my left. Today she is nearly 4 feet tall and she is SO strong. Carrying her while running is becoming a bit more challenging and I am so thankful for the team effort. Seeing her aid’s smiling face standing outside in her heavy coat waiting for us every morning is truly a gift.
As I was walking away today, I turned around (as I normally do) to see Abi and her aid walking down the hall together and I found myself, per usual, completely consumed with gratitude. There’s not a single morning that I don’t exhale deeply, smile, and walk back to my car completely in awe of her life. All of these teachers, all of these classmates, Abi’s crazy excitement to be at school. This is a public school with big kids and a cafeteria and a YEARBOOK and the whole thing. Abi is in the preschool program and my gosh- I’m so glad we did it.
If it wasn’t for my friend Alison and Rebecca- (who had wonderful experiences with their daughters and encouraged me to try it) I may not have been brave enough to drop my child off in a school where 5th graders get off the bus. (Compared to my gal- 5th graders are basically pro football players.) But alas- it has been an insanely wonderful 2 years.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, all combined with an absolutely incredible teacher and two wonderful aids… not to mention the teachers from the other 3 preschool classes. The class is inclusive so half of the students have special needs of varying types and the other half are considered “typical” and applied to be in the program as peer mentors. It’s given Abi a place to have a world independent of mom and me to have 4 mornings a week that I can have to myself.
Every morning when I drop her off, voices come from every direction, “Morning Abi! How are you?” and I can’t begin to tell you how that feels.
Yesterday at pick-up, I saw her in her wheelchair, all bundled up in her coat and hood, backpack hanging behind her, smiling as she waited with her friends for me to pick her up, and my mind traveled back to when she was in a crib in a government orphanage.
She has taught me more than I ever could have imagined and with every new day she continues to pull me into the magic. Yesterday I sang “DooWop” (literally,only those two syllables on repeat) going from high notes for the ‘doo’ to low notes for the ‘wop’ and she laughed for a solid 20 minutes.
Point is, what a life we live and what a life she has introduced us to. So thankful.
Cheers to the weekend friends!! I’m having friends over and pizza delivered in t-minus 5 hours. It’s someone’s birthday which means cheesy bread, large pizza, creamy pasta, good wine, and by far the most important component: pajamas. (Sweet Hallelujah.)
Happy Friday 🙂