In addition to Perry turning 5 yesterday, it was also his first day of school.
It was a storm of emotions for me. I am excited for Perry. I know this experience will change him, improve him, and help him. I can appreciate the break. I will have time in my day to replenish my sanity. I am ready to move into this new chapter of our lives. However, just as I had to grieve the end of pregnancy, I have grieved the end of having a little duck by my side at all times. I have had, at all times, a side kick for almost 12 years now. Each has become almost an appendage of me. The end of that is like an amputation. There will definitely be an adjustment period. But I am ready for it. I have loved Marley and Brodie’s growing independence. I love joking with my boys as I would a friend. I love that they get the jokes. I love that Cale is beginning to be more responsible. I love that Perry is beginning to show some signs of independence, as well. I know that the only way for that to happen is for everyone to grow and move forward.
But then there is a whole other side to this change, a scary and worrisome side. I think every parent worries about their little peanut when they send them off to school for the first time. It was that hard + a dose of extra strength worry. There are 3 major differences with Perry as compared to our first 3. One, Perry has a problem behavior, screaming. I am fully confident that the teachers have dealt with this behavior, can deal with this behavior, and are kind enough to do it in a reasonable fashion. But it wears on you. There is the worry that someone could treat Perry badly because of this or any other bad behavior. Second, is the worry we have had since Perry was a baby, teasing. When your child is diagnosed, as a little infant, with some major disability, one of the things you cry buckets of tears over is how life will look for them. Particularly, how cruel people will be to them. I have already experienced it as he has stood by my side. While those incidents have brought me to tears, I am also aware that I was there as that extra comfort or to get him out of “self-esteem destroying” harm’s way. I won’t be there now. The 3rd difference is perhaps the worst and scariest. Not only will I not be there for Perry, but he can not communicate these things to me. He would not come home and tell me Michael hurt his feelings when he called him weird. Or that Tommy won’t stop pushing him. Or, god forbid, that his teacher or other adult is unkind (or worse). It is an extremely frightening thought for us. While it is probably a guise, there was a false sense of security when we sent the older 3 into the big world, that they could tell us if someone was hurting them. With Perry we don’t even have that imaginary safety net to catch us. We are jumping to grab the trapeze bar and hoping, to all that is holy, that our jump isn’t too short or that our timing isn’t off or that our hands aren’t too sweaty. Basically we are hoping that everything will go perfectly.
Yesterday we left the platform. Took the leap. Now we hang in mid-air. It will be a long time before we can see that bar, much less touch it. For now I’m just going to try and enjoy the flight.