Just be who you are…these are words I try to remember everyday for myself and encourage my girls the same. There may be exceptions though. Not intentionally, and often with regret.
Yesterday was the open house for this upcoming school year. First we headed off to Virginia’s fourth grade class, met her new teacher and checked out the new digs. She seemed excited, but in true 91/2 year old form didn’t want to show it at all.
Next, up we headed through the halls to find Kimberly’s classroom(s). Suffice it to say, our tinkerbell is a bit of a celebrity. Most halls we traveled brought smiling faces. The lovely Ms J was our first stop. Kimberly’s teacher for the previous year and a half in the EC class and now the resource teacher for the whole school. Kimberly will spend time with her daily.
After our brief tour of her new room and a plan for the schedule the following week we headed down to K’s other class for the year…Ms C’s kindergarten. This is the nerve-wracking part of the evening for me. Watching them watch her. This is a General Ed classroom. Kimberly’s first in 4 years of school.
I watch their faces as I describe a few key items of note for our little one. She loves anything musical…she likes to feel various textures and will seek them out…she likes to have something in her hands most of the time…she might take all of her clothes of during potty time. I didn’t even broach the g-tube. Ms J will be handling that and I feared it would all be too much.
About half-way through the interaction I just wanted to gather my family and leave. I hate this part. Wanting to feel like they know, understand, and love her and yet, knowing that is not the case. Not yet at least. At times like this I find myself wishing away her differences, her stimming behaviors, her noises…the things that make her who she is in part.
I know it sounds horrible. It’s just that I want her to have fun and learn…to make friends and grow. For the teachers to welcome her in without that look on their faces…wondering what they are in for. And certainly to avoid the potential remarks from other students, the looks, the misunderstanding. So few truly know her potential.
Walking back to the car I was full of dread. Wondering if this little experiment was the right idea…ultimately though the truth is this: I just want her to be herself. Be who she is in every way. We will continue to do our best and try to choose the path that is the right one for her, whatever that may be.