Today was Abby’s first day of preschool. Her third birthday is tomorrow, so she transitioned out of Early Intervention to the school district for preschool. It’s a little surreal having all of my children in school now. I didn’t think it would happen this fast. For children with special needs, getting a lot of extra help early as their brains are still developing goes a long way. I didn’t love sending Casey off to school at three, and honestly, I’m not in love with sending Abby off. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I kept thinking, “She’s so tiny!” and “She’s too young for school…I can’t do this. I can’t put her on a bus!” It was all of the same things I thought with Casey.
There was a twinge of heartache as the little bus pulled up my driveway. Again. We’re doing this all over again. I remember putting Casey on the little bus when he was three all too clearly. Every day for a month he’d scream and yell as I buckled him in. He’d cry and pound on the window as the bus drove away. I’d cry as they drove away. It was the only way. We tried driving him to school, but the half-hour rage would happen there instead of on the bus.
Today we drove Abby, but I took the chance to meet the bus driver when they mistakenly came to get Abby. The bus driver and the aide were as cute as they could be and were genuinely excited to meet Abby. That put me at ease a little. The boys made this morning a celebration for Abby. I was talking about it and Peyton said, “Abby’s going to school today? This is exciting!” They all hugged her as we left and congratulated her on going to school.
Everything went perfectly at school. I stayed for too long hoping that Abby would get a little clingy, but that’s not her style. I was having a harder time separating than she was. I went to kiss her goodbye and she did her deep sigh of “commmeeee onnn, Mom” and brushed me away.
She seemed to enjoy the bus ride home. The aide said that she growled at her most of the way. That’s my girl.
Just now I heard Casey talking to Abby in the other room. Their conversation went like this:
How was your day at school?
Aaahhheeeyahhhhh (the fact that she vocalizes back to Casey is a big deal. Abby’s pretty quiet most of the time)
So I guess it was good?
Not good? Was it because you couldn’t hear your teacher? What’s your teacher’s name Abby? Right. You can’t talk. Probably wasn’t good because you can’t draw good either.
(That last part was a nod to what happened last night: )
Casey heard me laughing, and asked why. I think about how far he’s come since that first bus ride. I think about how far I’ve come from being that girl who stood barefoot in her driveway, sobbing as her son’s bus pulled away. I think about the relationship Casey has with Abby and how lucky we are to have both autism and Down syndrome in our home. I’m grateful that the twinge of sadness today as the bus pulled in was only a twinge. I’m grateful to be as prepared as one can be for another round of spec ial education.
My worries about her being so tiny were unfounded. This quote applies:
Like everything else that comes at her, Abby rocked it. I love this last picture so much because it shows her sass, and also because I think she looks SO MUCH like me.