It has not even happened yet and I am unsuccessfully convincing myself to not acknowledge the sense of dread that stings at every corner. I have no such reason to think it will not go well or to expect myself needing to argue and fight, each service a victory for my Amos. My youngest of four children is about to turn three and enter the classroom for special needs children at White Oak Elementary School. It is the same school that my two older sons attended and where my daughter is currently a first grader. His teacher is phenomenal and was teacher of the year this past year for the entire district. The class size is small and the assistant is lovely too. I've spoken to the speech and occupational therapists and found them to be knowledgeable, kind and willing to think outside the box for my Amos. What's not to like?
Nothing on paper. Everything is set. I'll take him to school a bit later in the mornings until we get his bedtime earlier (sibling soccer games have thrown us off schedule). He will ride the bus home with his brothers and sister two days a week, not the bus designated for special needs children but just the regular bus. I'm not sure why that's important to me, it's a toss up between Amos having familiar faces and his siblings being proud of this responsibility. He will go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a different schedule than most, but tailored to meet our family's needs.
I share all this not to bore you with the details, but to articulate how perfectly accommodating our local school system has been to meet not only the needs of Amos, but his whole family, particularly me. I met with the school psychologist today over lunch so she could learn more about Amos and his strengths. Do you know that no one has ever asked me about his strengths before? The questions have always been dictated by the can not, rather than the can. His play based assessment will be this week and when I darted in the principal's office today, do you know what she was doing? She was watching a video of a play based assessment so she would know what to expect on Thursday. My heart was filled with thankfulness.
And so, after the assessment, Amos will be officially enrolled in the Edenton-Chowan Schools system. That is the part where my thankful heart betrays me. Amos should not be having an assessment. Amos should be tearing up the house, demanding trips to the park and treats at the grocery store. Amos should shout the names of his siblings and drive us all a bit crazy with his expected dictatorship. None of this is true and so, our reality seems to be drifting farther away from those expectations that lay hidden in my mind. I'm trying though. I'm really trying. I count the blessings in this moment and I catch life's curve balls the best way I know how. I won't stifle the sadness that rolls in like the tides because life is the same, a hard road that demands documenting the joy in the moment along with the tears.