“It was so risky and so scary, and yet at the same time, so beautiful. Maybe the truth was, it shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth.” – Sarah Dessen
We did it! The first week of school is over and done, and I’m unspeakably excited by the prospect of the next two days being wide open and free. No packing snacks and lunches, no setting an alarm or rushing the kids through the morning routine so that they can leave on time and “stress free.” I feel like I can take a big breath, relieved that the girls were (for the most part) excited to go to school each day. I know it’s exhausting for them and a huge shift for all of us, but they handled it like champs, even managing to do most of the morning routine on their own. Amelia and Eliza share a room, and each day when their alarm went off, they got up, got dressed, made their beds, and brushed their teeth before coming downstairs for breakfast. Eliza’s bed-making skills are still emerging as they say, and Lord only knows what kind of job she did brushing her teeth solo, but the point is, she did it. I’m sort of astounded that it worked, to be honest, but so, so grateful that at least for week one, it did.
This whole week has left the advice of Eliza’s PWS specialist, Dr. Miller, refreshed in my mind. She told me at our last appointment that I should expect Eliza can do anything, encouraging me to only make accommodations when she shows it’s needed. That’s hard advice to follow, mostly because I want so desperately to protect her from failure and keep her spirits and excitement up. As I said before, once Eliza has decided she can’t (or doesn’t want to) do something, she generally digs into that belief pretty hard. And I want to ensure I have everything in place to give her success. But then I wonder whether I’m doing just that…giving it to her instead of letting her figure it out on her own. Finding that balance between protecting our kids and allowing them to fall and fail is constant, isn’t it? I don’t know the answer. I think it’s one of those things that specialists and parents alike see differently, and I don’t think there is one right answer. But I will say that this week, I might just send Dr. Miller an email and say thank you. Thank you for believing in Eliza. Thank you for reminding me that yes, it is harder for her, but that she can do hard things.
This world is not an easy one to navigate for anyone, and that is certainly true for Eliza, who is challenged by simple things like balance and self-regulation that we generally take for granted. But what better time to practice spreading her wings than now when she has a village of teachers and paras and parents and friends looking out for her? Right now, her world has her back, and I’m so very thankful for that. Was week one hard? Absolutely. Did Eliza cry nearly every afternoon within ten minutes of leaving her classroom? Yep. There were more struggles and more tears than we normally have, but there were also more adventures and more lessons and more friends. We are going into this weekend ready to celebrate…celebrate this week of firsts and the kids who navigated them with a little grit and a lot of grace. What a ride. What a blessing.