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He waited at the end of the driveway for 20 minutes, anxiously watching for the school bus. Anxiety coursed through my body as I prepared to watch my firstborn step onto the bus and away from the people who best know how to care for him. Last year was easy for me. His autism therapists were in the same building as his preschool. They were a short walk away in the event he needed them. This time, he has a nice team of educators waiting for him; but they are new to him. It will take time for him to be comfortable with them, and for them to learn his unique needs. Finally, the bus approached. I helped him put his backpack on and watched as he stepped onto that bus and didn’t look back.
I am so proud of my son. He has fought through so many challenges in his lifetime. He and I are two peas in a pod, the peanut butter to each other’s jelly, two nuts off the same tree. (ha!) We bonded together through colic, postpartum depression, his numerous trips to the hospital, and his countless trips to therapy. That child is my heart walking outside of my body (well, both of them are, but this post isn’t about our Jo!).
My boy is now a silly six-year-old who fiercely loves his family, secretly knows how to read, tries new things and is gaining self-confidence. As he stepped onto that bus this morning, I realized that letting go is a continuous effort for a parent. It’s not a simple, one-step process. It’s trusting him. It’s trusting our tribe of amazing professionals. It’s trusting myself to make the right decisions for him until he’s able to make more of his own.
The first day of kindergarten is just one step to letting go and helping him soar. I’m eternally grateful for our tribe that will build him up and catch him if he falls.
Happy back to school, friends.