You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘first day’ tag.

This child’s road to kindergarten has been littered with eight-hour surgeries and the side effects of chemotherapy. More CT scans in two years than the recommended allowance for an entire childhood. Central lines and blood pressure medications fit for a retiree.

But despite the bumps in the road, the twists and turns and inevitable hills, the outrageous and unexpected detours, this child has reached his destination. The child has, against all odds, started kindergarten:

And it was surprisingly smooth. I’ve gotta admit that for the past few years, this day has loomed large in front of me. If I were a stage actor and needed to make myself cry, all I would have to do is imagine walking out of that building on the first day of school and the tears would start rolling.  Honestly, I’ve cried about it many times already as I lie in bed at night just thinking about it. But today was different. We walked, the four of us together, the boys’ backpacks bulging with tissue boxes and Chlorox wipes. Then there was the chaos at school of students and parents trying to find their new teachers before the flag raising. I had one quick moment when a friend asked how I was and I got choked up, before anything significant had even happened. But I hid behind my sunglasses, not wanting to make Austin any more nervous than he was already was.

Into the building we went, down the hallway hand in hand. I left him in his classroom to join the parents for paperwork and Q&A. And that was another moment; I had to go into an empty classroom first and gather myself, right on the verge of a full-blown sob fest. But that too passed, as I was swept up in the mundane tasks of listing emergency contacts and ordering gym shirts.  Then another goodbye, this one harder for him than me (but no tears). And that was it. I walked out chatting with parents and friends and headed down the street to my quiet house.

I did it. We did it. He did it. Austin is alive and well, as healthy and normal-looking as any child in that building. He is something we were never sure he’d be: a kindergartener. And next year, he’ll be a first grader. And then second and third. Before I know it, he’ll be a middle schooler. And he’ll graduate from high school and he’ll go on to college.

Because he is alive. And he is well.

He did it.

A successful day all around.

Austin is good. Liver, kidney and lungs remain unchanged, heart has actually improved slightly, lab numbers good. He is now officially sixteen months cancer-free — the longest cancer-free stretch he has had in his entire life.

We should have two more sets of tests like this before he reaches the golden two-year mark. Then his scans move to every six months and some things, like the chest CT, get downgraded to a chest x-ray which exposes him to considerably less radiation.

He handled the day well, although it does get exhausting to be there for all those hours and he feel asleep in the car on the way home (with Mark, who had to relieve me at 2:50 so I could be there to walk Braedan home from his first day).

And speaking of that first day, he is thrilled. A way different reaction than he had last year when he came home and cried for three hours. (Not that there was anything dramatically wrong with his first grade teacher — she was perfectly nice — but he never felt a warm connection to her and Braedan is all about the warm connection.)

He asked tonight if he had school again tomorrow and when I said yes, he cheered, “Yay! I get to see Mrs. Nice-and-Fun Teacher!”

Now I just need all of today’s results to last and last and last.

Heading out

Too cool for school?

Hey, don’t forget about me!

Did any of you see this sweet little bean in the Sun Press last week?

He was photographed in the game room at the Boneyard, during a fundraiser for Rainbow. It’s sort of a strange picture, I think because of the contrast between the dark room and the super bright flash. But what I like best about it (besides that proudly displayed — and dirty — hand bandage) is that it says he was “treated successfully” for cancer two times at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.  I mean, if it’s in the paper, it must be true, right?

In other super exciting news, I just got a message from our wish coordinator at Make-A-Wish and she said that they have scheduled Austin’s treehouse to be built this fall and it should be completed by the end of October. Weather permitting, of course, (which you know, is never promising), but still, pretty exciting stuff . . .

Now off to sleep — Braedan’s first day of first grade tomorrow!

Now it’s my little one’s turn. Austin had his first solo day of preschool today and, let me tell you, it was not easy.  He’d already done two days but I was in the building for both, a fact he knew and clung to for comfort and security. Today was the day that I’d actually be leaving, my first of many hundreds of days ahead with both my boys in school.  I was excited, of course, for my 2 1/2 free hours, ready to have coffee with my mom and then take a pilates class. Austin? Not so excited.

As we walked from Braedan’s school to Austin’s, he complained the whole time, saying he didn’t want me to leave and threatening to not play with anyone (“not a single kid,” he said with defiance).  We arrived and he kept whining, “But Maaaaahhhhhhhmmmmmmeeeeeee.” We hung up his backpack, washed his hands and in we went. Find your name from the pile, greet your teacher, see who’s parent helping, check out the Lego table in the hopes it would be enticing . . . But instead he was in my arms with his shorter ones tightly wrapped around my neck and crying.

Ugh. The worst. I know we all do it. I know I had to do it with Braedan when he was starting preschool and Mommy was leaving him behind to go take care of his brand new baby brother.  I know if it were another new parent there, I would coach them through, telling them it will all be okay, this is just part of growing up. But somehow with Ausin, everything seems magnified. The very fact that we’re there, that he actually has the chance to attend preschool, seems like a huge deal. And, as I’ve said before, Austin is a wee bit attached to his momma.  Comforting him has been my main job and such a significant part of our relationship, beyond the normal mother-child bonds. My physical presence has been his source of strength for the past two-plus years.

But I had to go. So after I exited, the teacher brought him to the window and I placed my hand against his and said goodbye one last time, walking away while his cry filled the air behind me.

My mom had come to take me to coffee, a first day of school ritual. She had a gift for me, a little figurine of a woman holding a bird in her outstretched arms, letting it go.

Letting it go.

What a star Braedan was today! We were up bright and early (not an easy thing in this household, trust me) and drove over to the new house after dropping Austin off at my mom’s so I’d be able to stay for the orientation. We parked there and took some pictures and then Mark and I walked proudly off to school with Braedan in between us. We could hear the marching band practicing at Shaker High in the distance which added some pep to our steps.

First day

First day

 

Mark and mini-Mark

Mark and mini-Mark

The parents and kids were gathered outside the kindergarten playground, so Mark waited until he met Mrs. Murphy and then left for work and then the bell rang and in we went, just like that, entering the big new world of school. I stayed in the class for an hour filling out paperwork, signing up for the PTA, paying for his gym shirt. Braedan was completely unfazed by the newness of everything, by how different he looked from his classmates (which he did, by both race and gender, although only one third of the class was there today). He just breezed right into things, sitting up there in the circle explaining the airplane picture he drew, and then eagerly raising his hand to tell a longwinded story after the teacher mentioned their “own special playground.”

“At my preschool,” he began, “Even when we were in the 5s class, we all shared one playground so the little kids could come on the same one as the big kids. And I come here to this playground, to both of them. Sometimes I come with my friend who lives right here on the same street as school but he doesn’t go here. I bring my bike to his house or sometimes I ride one of his bikes, because he has two, a little one and a big one, and we come here and I can do the monkey bars and I can do them all the way frontwards and sometimes I do them sideways and swing really fast and then the other day, I even did them backwards all the way and . . . ” all without stopping for a breath! 

The teacher sat smiling and nodding and trying to gently cut him off so she could call another little hand waving eagerly in the air.  And I watched him, so at ease, so comfortable and confident in who he is and the value of all he has to say (and my, does he have a lot to say) and that was the only moment I cried. Just a little tear and then I knew he would soon glance over at me to make some cute little face that meant, “Wow, Mom, did you hear that that girl’s name is Jasmine, just like Jasmine my babysitter? Wow!” (all communicated with a lift of his eyebrows and some vigorous head nodding), so I dried my tear and then the teacher let them come and give us kisses goodbye and I was off.

And he’ll be great, I just know it. My star.

February 2020
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
242526272829  

Archives

February 2020
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
242526272829