Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
Tomorrow I will hold the hand of my littlest little and walk him to you. I am not the mom to cry on this day. I am very much the high-five, fist-pump, "go take on the world" mom on the first day of school (if that's a thing). I didn't tear up when my biggest kiddo walked into another kindergarten classroom in another state not too long ago. It was an exciting day for both of us.
But tomorrow ... tomorrow my child is going to walk into your classroom and find his cubby and (I hope) find a friend. There is so much significance in that moment. Not just because it's the first day of his education, but because of the many, many days that came before. The many, many people who have walked him through to here.
My littlest little who will let go of my hand for yours, has already been working. He has already been learning and pushing and trying to thrive in an environment not at all familiar.
My littlest little sees our world differently because the world he lives in is not the same as the one we know. His language didn't match, and his expressions didn't fall in line. We lived through the "can'ts" and the "won'ts" and the "delayeds" and "not yets" and even the "nevers". He's already pushed through all of those things; he will push through them for the rest of his life.
He has worked. With his tiny body, and tiny hands, this precious kiddo has worked. Therapy after therapy. Specialist after specialist. Ignorant bystander after ignorant bystander. My little giant has worked through days to the point that his body physically couldn't anymore. Until he crashed to sleep in the car after the hours and hours of assistance and help.
Very special people have loved my kiddo. People that saw him from the day of diagnosis, or who found him at the half-way point, or who have been there every step of it, through the melt-downs and the set-backs and the too many heartbreaks. They have gradually and minimally been granted access to his beautiful, beautiful world and they have patiently and gently helped him live in ours. Dozens and dozens of people have worked to bring him here. When I walk into your room holding his tiny hand they are holding it too.
Tomorrow my little giant is going to shake your hand, his grey eyes will find yours, and he will say "hello" while looking you in the eye. The significance of that, the countless hours of work that brought this moment to life! ... I hope you understand someday.
His little, little body has worked for that moment and for thousands of moments that will follow after.
Every part of your day with him may be different. Every task and event and direction may not be followed the same as a neuro-typical kiddo would. I know that my little giant will demand more of your time and your energy and, above all, more of your patience.
I promise you that I will be here every step of that. I will answer questions. I will communicate. I will help you. I will support you. I will be in your corner. I will give you what you need.
Give him a chance. Believe in him with me. He can do this. He is able. I will not tell him otherwise. I won't believe otherwise. I have seen what he can overcome. I have seen what he has pushed through. He is strong and smart and ready.
His diagnosis is not who he is. It is everything that he is more than. He is more than a label. He is more than a challenge. He is more than a struggle. He is more than an IEP.
He is also a nervous and scared five-year-old kiddo who will leave his biggest fan, his most avid supporter and enter a world that he does not know.
If there are tears in my eyes tomorrow, I want you to know that there is so much joy mixed in. There is fear and hope and joy. He has come so far.
He has come so far.
He has so much farther to go.
Thank you for guiding him with me.
- A Special Needs Mom
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.