Hello there. It has been a while since I’ve put anything in this space. But while I did put a close to the daily run of this blog, I always figured there might be moments where I felt like saying a few [thousand] words about one thing or another.
It’s been quite a summer. I remember around the time I wrote my last post, about 2 months ago, I was fully vaccinated and starting to feel like we were on track to something more like normal life. Sadly, that didn’t stick. But in the meantime, we did at least get to take part in some normalish summertime outdoor activities with the kids. Henry went to his first birthday pool party. Amelia played in a soccer league. It was a busy, fun and fantastic summer.
Now we’re in the middle of August, and here in Colorado that means back to school time. And sadly, in this moment I feel myself experiencing some major deja vu from 2020. The kids are still unvaccinated. COVID is still an omipresent threat. People are still arguing about masks and basic health safety precautions. It all feels very familiar. Humans are creatures of habit, even if those habits are oftentimes counterproductive and dumb.
I’m writing this the night before our kids go back to school…in person, full time. It’s a year of big change. For Amelia, who rocked virtual school all of last year, it is not only a return to in-person class, but actually starting third grade at a new school. She was just recently accepted into a charter school we’ve heard great things about. I know she is going to do great, but understandably she is experiencing mixed emotions. Excitement about a new school and new friends, but also sadness leaving behind the familiarity and comfort of the school she’s been in the past several years.
No doubt, I would be feeling the same way if I were her. Thing is, she is such a fun, charismatic little girl, I know she’s going to make a ton of friends and have a blast. But I don’t blame her having to walk through the worry and uncertainty to get there. Change is never easy, and none of us like to be challenged, but challenges are ultimately what make us who we are. I know her experience will be wonderful, because she brings wonder and joy into every room she walks into.
And for Henry, after a year of daily therapy and preparation, he is going off to kindergarten at our local elementary school. He is so excited, and has been asking for weeks when he will get to be a kindergartener. In the past week, he has started literally counting down the days on the calendar.
Just last week, Henry graduated from ABA therapy. He has been working with his team of therapists every day, either in home or in center, for more than a year and it’s surreal to see that chapter come to a close. He was so proud, but not nearly as proud as Erin and I.
I can’t say enough about the hard work he’s put in. Seriously, I don’t have the words. And anyone who knows me knows that not having words is not a common condition for me. At all of five and a half years old, Henry has proven himself to be a dynamo. He has absorbed so much, and he has shown the capacity to learn, grow and put in more personal development work than most of us grown ups could. My kids inspire me, and these are just some of the reasons why they do.
And I also have to tip my hat to the amazing job Henry’s therapists have done. He has come so far in so many ways since we started this journey, and I’m excited and nervous about his taking the next step. We’ve seen so much growth, done so much together and seen Henry really come into himself. And now it’s time to take all that out to the larger world.
He’ll be in a regular class with regular kids, and we’ve spent a good amount of time working with the district on his indvidualized education plan, or IEP. We have a good feeling about his teacher and his team of therapists in the district also seem wonderful. We got to visit his classrom on Back to School Night, and Henry even got to check out his desk. He was pretty happy with it all and actually got sad when we had to leave.
I have every faith he will do well, but of course as a parent I still worry. Will he make friends? Will he take part in classroom activities? How will he do with structured learning? We know he has challenges, but he is such a bright and beautiful soul, we just want to see him happy and thriving.
Of course, I know a lot of this is pretty typical back-to-schoool jitters, and any parent reading this certainly knows what it feels like. And this year, many of us are also feeling that added weight of all the fears and uncertainty around COVID. We live in uncertain and scary times, and I suppose the best we can do is take things a moment at a time and have a little faith. Faith in our kids, faith in ourselves, and faith in the power of good things.
So here’s to all the parents having back to school jitters. May all of our anxieties be completely unfounded, and may all our best hopes for our amazing kids come true.