My boys go back to school tomorrow. (I know this isn't a unique observation- everyone and their mother is going back to school this week.)
For me this is bittersweet. " The First Day of 3-5 Autism class" doesn't exactly have the same ring as "The First Day of Kindergarten". We've never had an official "First Day"- we started the last year right after Winter break- about 4 weeks after our initial diagnosis of Autism. There were attempts at pictures with the bus on the first day, but they are mostly pictures of backpacks as the boys stomped down the icy front path to the bus.
Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful day. I mean, other than completely rocking our world. How many people put a 2 year old on a bus to go to school? Not many.
Part of me is sad. Part of me can't wait. In the past 6 weeks we've had some new habits form and little regressions here and there which emphasize just how important the structured routine of school is for our little guys. And when I look at them, I just see "little". 36 inches tall. Not quite 30 pounds. My babies. I feel like we've missed out on years of our kids just getting to be kids, all because of an ill-timed diagnosis.
Don't get me wrong- I am so grateful that we were able to get diagnosed as early as we did. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the people who were put into our path from the moment I made that call to Early Intervention.
But, my boys will do more work in their 150 minute days than some kids will do all month. Because that is what it is for these kids. Everything is work. Sitting on a chair during circle time is work. Playing is work. Eating is work. Well, maybe not eating...my boys seem to enjoy eating when they are at school.
Because they responded so well when they were placed in January, the decision was made to put them right into the 3 year old class in the Fall instead of waiting for their birthday in November and transitioning them then. I think this is a good move. I think they are up to the challenge. I feel like it will keep them on their toes, learning new skills and strategies each day.
So, here I sit.
With much hope for the next school year.
With faith in the team that will surround them in their classroom each day.
With pride in my boys, marching through life to their own beat.
With perfectly mismatched First-Day-of-School outfits spread out in front of me on the kitchen table. (Because even if there is no fanfare- it is still The First Day of School!)
Tomorrow we all take another leap into the unknown.
I have a feeling this is going to be good.