We celebrated our little boy heading to kindergarten with a special dinner tonight. I made some of his favorite foods (salmon & "crispy" asparagus (roasted) & black olives & cucumbers.
Then he got a chocolate oreo cupcake with cute little crayola candles.
After dinner, we gathered on the couch where he opened his backpack of surprises- little books I'd been saving about kindergarten, a memory book, & a Cars pencil case filled with Cars & Batman pencils along with a Lego sharpener.
We read all of the books. Twice.
Then we shared with him what is most important about kindergarten. We shared with him that we love him because he is our son and we are proud of him because he tries his best.
We talked about being a good friend to others and working hard and having fun.
We talked a lot about courage.
Meet the Teacher/Classmates day last week was very difficult. For nearly twenty minutes, he stayed in the hallway repeatedly telling me he just didn't have enough courage to face the kids' stares and questions about his hands and feet. I tried to give him some of my extra courage. We prayed. I sang Joshua 1:9. We hugged. Finally, my heart broke down and I cried too.
He has more courage than anyone I know. He daily faces such huge challenges and he does it with laughter and joy. He bravely faces curious kids day after day and he puts up with the incessant questions politely.
And it does take huge courage to walk into a classroom full of kids you don't know. The questions and comments are inevitable.
But he did it. My boy walked through those doors with his new teacher and his mama stood in the stairwell and sobbed.
Kindergarten is supposed to be exciting and wonderful and kind of scary/nerve wrecking. But it's not supposed to have this level of difficulty. It's not supposed to be gut wrenching.
But it is for us parents of kiddos with differences. There's just a whole other level of pain and heartache as we release our child - knowing they are in a good, safe place... but also knowing we can't be there to help them field questions or respond to stares and pointing and trusting the teacher but knowing she has her hands full with lots of kiddos she must keep her eyes on.
So we talked a lot about courage.
And then Daddy prayed tonight over Will and his year. We held our boy and we prayed our hearts out.
And perhaps Mommy cried - although I reassured him that all mommies cry at kindergarten because our kiddos are growing up.
When I asked him recently what he would like to take to school with him to remind him of me, he said, "Our love, Mommy. I'll carry our love - the love we have between you and me - to school with me every day."
And I melted right there in the kitchen.
Tonight, as we cuddled, he sang me a song - "I love my mommy too much."
How I love this boy.
And now off to bed - my anxiety is through the roof and I am having stomach pains.
I've got a lunch to pack in the morning and a boy to drive to school.
But I won't be saying goodbye just yet - I'll stay and read the book Will & I wrote to all the kindergarten classes - explaining Will's differences and reminding them that he is a kid just like them.
(And I'm armed with donut holes.)
If you think of it - lift up my boy tomorrow morning - for extra courage.
(And maybe his mommy and daddy too. This is hard. So very hard.)