So today was the first day of school for my family. It was so much fun to see the pictures of my nieces and nephews dressed in their new clothes holding up their signs (first day of first grade, first day of third grade, etc.). Yet it was also a day tinged with sadness for me.
Emerson should have had his first day of preschool this week. I think it would have landed tomorrow but we never got all the details. I do know he would have been in an integrated class two days a week and a specialized class one day a week. The last time he was at school, he and Matt went to see his new classroom. Matt said he was so excited.
Emerson loved school. I can only speculate on all the reasons, but it is not speculation to say he loved school. I think he loved going somewhere without mom and dad. He loved making friends with people his own age. He loved music. He loved learning. He loved playing. Preschool offered all of this and more for him. I wish he could have told me with all the words of a three-(at-the-time)year-old what he loved about school.
I was so scared to send him to school the first time. Without a parent. Without a nurse. It is scary enough for a parent to send a child off to school for the first day. A child like Emerson whose needs were exponentially higher than his peers was just terrifying to send him to school. But he loved it. Every day he came home the van driver would tell Matt how happy he was and we never had a truly negative report (only on days we knew Emerson was a little run down).
I am so sad that we do not get to put him into the Halo van this week. I am so sad that he won’t be reunited with his friends from last year and have the opportunity to make new friends. I am so sad that he doesn’t get to learn and grow and discover. I am just so sad today.
I remember backpack shopping with him last year. It was the day before school started and I panicked. We had to go over to the main preschool building and I saw all the kids with their backpacks. I had not even thought that Emerson needed one too. So that afternoon he and I went to the store together. We walked down the backpack aisle and looked over the options. I picked up two that I preferred (I think one was minions and the other might have been Ninja Turtles). I asked Emerson which one he wanted and he didn’t want either. He looked away from my choices and straight at a Spiderman backpack. So I held it up with the minion backpack (still holding out hope) and he reached for his new backpack. He was so happy. And I never get to do that with him again.
I don’t ever get to buy him back to school clothes or school supplies. I don’t ever have to sit through an awful IEP meeting again. I never have to attend a parent teacher conference for him. We will never attend an open house or meet a new teacher or para for him. An entire world of nevers. A whole lifetime of memories (good and bad) taken from me and his dad and his brothers.
To say it’s not fair feels like a gross understatement. It’s all I have though. It is not fair. It sucks so much. I want all those memories. I want all the work. I want my son. Nothing can ever make this easy or better. And I hate every minute of it–living without Emerson. But, I loved and I cherish every minute that I got to have Emerson as mine.