I made a decision this week that I thought was surprisingly easy. I enrolled my just-turned-two-year-old son with Down syndrome in preschool.
After having a developmental surge in October, Anderson has recently hit a plateau. He is able to walk, but is a little timid and a lot stubborn about it. We’ve been onboard the surge-plateau rollercoaster since his arrival, it’s normal. But now that he has less than one year before starting public school, everything seems more urgent.
When I saw Anderson copying his typically developing friend last week by taking some steps, a light bulb went off—lets start this inclusion process now. I went full steam ahead, sending emails, making phone calls and rearranging appointments.
I thought I was ready—more than ready.
But when I unbuckled him from his infant car seat and looked at his smiling, unsuspecting face, the tears started pouring. When I handed Anderson off to his teacher and saw him sitting on the floor, happy and playing with friends, it was a downright waterfall.
As I sit here at a Starbucks, childless, I can’t stop crying. But as torn as I feel right now, I realize it’s not about me.
It comes down to this: I’m raising him to leave me.
And this might look a little different at times for Anderson than it will my other children. I know it means more appointments, I suspect it will mean extra help and tutoring and maybe even a firmer push at times.
I believe this is one of those times.
I know he’s still a baby. Part of me questions spending time apart from him when this (mostly) sweet phase of life is so short. I may even have readers thinking, “Slow down, Momma.” But that’s not the kind of mom I am. I’d like to believe that God gave me Anderson, in part, because he knew the kind of mom he needed.
So, I won’t let my tears cloud my vision. It’s time to trust my instinct. I’m letting go, because one day I want him to let go of me.
*Update: Anderson had a great first day at school. His teachers said he was very social and wanted to jump in with whatever the kids were doing. They even showed me his dot-painting where he mostly stayed inside the lines. Oh, and just in case I have any readers that think I’m super mom- I want you to know that I accidentally sent my kid to school with one shoe on. I didn’t realize it until I picked him up.