That's how I'm feeling tonight thinking about my sweet 'lil Peyton girl starting kindergarten. I thought I was all prepared for this, but obviously, I'm not completely. I thought I had "one up" on all the other moms of kindergartners because exactly 3 years ago I'd been almost physically ill thinking about dropping off my non-verbal special needs 3-year-old at the Early Childhood Special Ed Preschool for 4 half-days per week. How would she be able to communicate? How would anyone know if she needed something? How would she do getting around the classroom & playground since she had only been walking for a couple of months? How would anyone ever figure her out? How could I ship her off to a bunch of strangers who hadn't really even met her? Those were the thoughts I struggled with on the eve of Labor Day 2007. I very vividly remember crying myself to sleep that night after letting these thoughts get the best of me. The next morning I dropped her off and held it together until I got back out to the car...then I sat and bawled. You hear the stereotypical stories about moms who drop their babies off at school for their first day of kindergarten (or ECSE in my case) and how difficult it is, well, throw in a handful of special needs to the mix and boy howdy, you've got the makings of a MAJOR CryFest.

I've been thinking about how this is all going to play out for the past few days and finally today I started thinking back to that first day when I dropped Peyton off for ECSE preschool. She didn't cry. She wasn't clingy. She didn't even look back for me when I turned to leave the room. She sat there taking it all in. New people, new sounds, new smells, new schedules, new opportunities. Remembering back to that first day really started to change my view on the first day of kindergarten. Yes, I'm sure I'll shed a tear or two, but probably not for the same reasons all the other moms will be. My tears will be tears of joy and of pride seeing my baby, who we were told was developmentally equivalent to approximately a 10-12 month old on her first day of ESCE preschool, walking in to a mainstream all-day kindergarten classroom. Wow, she's come SO far. I can't even explain how incredible it is to see her personality, her sweet spirit, her witt, and her amazing mind all coming out after years of therapy and lots of work here at home. From day one I could always tell when I looked in to her eyes that she was a bright little sweetheart, and to see her finally able to express everything that's been bottled up inside for so long just makes me want to jump up and down with excitement!!

My prayer as Peyton starts kindergarten is that others will take the time to realize what a treasure she is and what amazing things she has to offer. I pray that her peers will be accepting of her little quirks. I pray that her teacher, Mrs. Ward, and the classroom para professional will be able to quickly relate to Peyton and understand her speech. I pray that she will also "get" Peyton just as the two ECSE teachers Peyton had were able to. I pray that Peyton will be able to stay focused and engaged in a classroom full of kids. I pray that Chad and I will have wisdom working with the staff to ensure we're doing everything we can to help Peyton be successful. And most importantly, I pray that others will see the light of Jesus shine through Peyton.

Have a great first day of school everyone!!


Lynn said...

Congratulations! That is a great success story. Clearly all of you hard work has paid off! Peyton is adorable!

I have a 6 year old special needs daughter as well...nice to "meet" you. I'm your newest follower!

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