Stating that a child’s graduation from pre-school is the “End of an Era” may sound a bit dramatic, but for me that phrase seems very accurate. On Thursday, Eddie had his final day in a pre-school program he has been attending for three years. It was a very emotional day for me and for all of the pre-school staff.
I remembered back to his first IEP meeting to set-up this program and how nervous I was about everything. Would he get the services he needed? Would they provide braille and O&M? Would he like pre-school? And most importantly, would they take care of my son not just out of duty but out of love? All of the answers turned out to be yes; even the last one, which was the most important.
The staff at this program easily loved my son; my son who can be highly frustrating and knows how to go from giggling to raging in under five seconds. I always knew he was adorable, but I used to worry that people couldn’t see through the behavior to find the adorable. The group of women that have taught Eddie for three years proved that my son is not only capable of being loved, but that he is quite easily loved.
So, I find myself again cycling through the grief process. I’m mourning the loss of his pre-school, the loss of the amazing staff, and the loss of the comfort zone we’ve lived in for three years. It feels right to shed some tears for something that was such a blessing for us. However, as I weep through the end of this “era” I am also slowly preparing both of us for new school days ahead.
Now, I have to confront a word that many parents hate, but especially parents of special needs kids, and that is “transition”. For me it is so hard to find normalcy in our life with Eddie and for three years we had that. Now everything changes as we enter the realm of Kindergarten.
Eddie and I both have to adjust to a new routine, new teachers, longer school days, and tougher goals. I feel like I am enlisting in some specialized boot camp to begin late August. While pulling on our boots, his Dad and I will also pack high hopes for the staff and high expectations for our son. If we can keep those goals in mind, I know that instead of a battle we’ll be preparing a treaty that could see us through many positive life-changing years to come.