Then you were 4, and next week you start primary school. When you were born it was one of those milestones that I thought might look so different. Something I thought we might ‘miss out on’. But we’ve got your uniform. We went to get the school shoes (you picked them yourself). We’ve been to the class playdate, met your teachers and I cannot wait to see you head through that gate and start a new chapter.
I cant believe we’re there already. From that moment I first held you in my arms, to when we received your diagnosis, and everything felt so momentous, I couldn’t see us at this point. We were just taking each day at a time, not looking too far ahead because the future seemed scary.
I would be lying if I said there isn’t part of me that wants to pull you back, hold you tight and keep you in our little bubble. Where everyone knows you and loves you for exactly who you are. To protect you from people who might look at you differently, or treat you as ‘less than’. Who don’t understand your challenges; that you struggle to communicate, might run off, or not follow instructions as well. You just need time, and space and support and you’ll get there. I so want to protect you from all the meanness and challenges the world can bring. But I know I have to let you go out there. Hopefully you’ll teach your classmates too, that differences are to be celebrated and accepted, not looked down upon.
I love your school. I love your teachers. I trust them. We have fought hard to get in place the support we feel you need to succeed. And throughout that process we have had to look over and over again at what you can’t do, what your differences are, when what I want most for you from school is to feel like you belong.
What I really want for you, is to feel confident and happy, to have friends that you love and who love you back. I want you to be excited to go to school each day, to learn (even if that learning looks different to your peers).
I hope you’re not too nervous, I don’t think you are, you seem to adapt pretty well, we can’t really talk about it yet, you cant quite tell me how you feel about it all. You loved trying on your uniform though.
I’m so proud of you. Be yourself, because you are awesome and hopefully everyone else will see that too.
Good luck, I know you can do this, you’ll run off through that door like any other day, not looking back, waving at people as you go past.
I’ll try and play it cool. But I cant promise that I wont shed a tear when I get home.