A Hard Goodbye
The day I dropped Elias off to his first day of preschool was one of the hardest things I have done. It was a special preschool for kids like Elias, and a few typical kids sprinkled in. I remember how my heart ached the first week. I would lay Pia down for a nap and make sure Vitali was busy with Legos, a movie, and a snack, and I would sleep the morning away. I felt depressed. I didn't like that my three-year-old was away from me five days a week, four hours a day.
I look back at that time and I am amazed at how far we have come. Elias loves his school, and it's because of his teachers. I see the way they love him and want what is best for him. I have learned so much from them too.
One thing I have learned on this journey of Down syndrome is that there are some really amazing people that want to help me. I don't have to pretend like I know everything, and that has been a beautiful thing. I have had days when I feel impatient with Elias. Like when we walk to class and he drops to the ground, and his forty-five pound body is too big for me to carry, and I shouldn't be carrying a four-year-old anyway! Thats when Mrs. Jennifer hands Elias a push cart, "Come on Elias, take it to class!" And they all cheer him on as he walks all the way to class pushing his cart. I stand back waving goodbye with tears in my eyes, because I know how I can't do this alone. I have become a better mom to Elias because of his teachers. I admire all of these women so much, they are such an important part of our lives.
As we come to an end of Elias' preschool days, I am sad to move on. I question if Elias will have the same incredible teachers. I think about how Elias has had exactly who he needed since after he was born. Every step of this road God has given us the perfect people to help us walk this journey. Elias has learned a lot in his first four years of life. But beyond the art projects, pretend stations, and alphabet, he has been loved. The way they cheer him on when he first learned how to jump. The long hugs he gets in the morning and after school, and everywhere in-between. Their patience as they teach him over and over, until one day he gets it! It is their love for him and how they value his uniqueness that has changed our lives. As we move on, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude, and I am hopeful that we will find other teachers that know how to love as well as these women.