Yesterday was my last day working at The Goldman School (The Arc Caddo-Bossier). I was really excited when I made the decision to stay home with Natalie full time again, but, I am starting to feel really down about it now...
Natalie may not always like her preschool, but she has learned so much that I can never teach her. She has friends there that know she is different, but play and dance with her anyway... because they love her.
What if I fail?
What if her being there was the only way she will learn social interaction (A huge issue for her and most developmentally delayed children)?
What if this is the one place she has kids her age that will play with her even when its a little less fun because she doesn't understand....
Here come the tears.
I know I am selfish for taking her out and just wanting to be with her myself. I feel like for most kids being at home isn't an issue, and may be a better choice but, Natalie isn't most kids. We know this. Even at church, the kids there don't play with her... they play around her. They haven't been taught to treat everyone the same or that just because someone is your age doesn't mean they can do what you do... I'm terrified that she will regress so much in these areas.
There are so many things I have learned working at The Goldman School. I feel like before I may have held Natalie back on some things because I assumed she would fail, and cant bear that. I got to see her at her full potential and I feel like I am better equipped to help her continue to succeed.
But there is still that ever-present fear.
Yesterday, the school had a little Halloween party in the cafeteria and after they ate all their Halloween snacks, they had a huge dance party to some classic kids Halloween songs... Natalie cried most of the time. I'm not sure if it was just too much going on, or if she saw me with the children in my class, dancing and having fun, and wanted me at the moment... But, several of the children in her class, without being instructed, tried to hug her and calm her down and talked to her saying it was okay. When she calmed down they all wanted to dance with her. It was amazing. Every part of my soul wanted to group hug those children for being so loving and kind. They know she is different. They help her with crafts, play outside together, build blocks with her... They know her in a way that I never will, as her mother.
I do have a plan... to keep her on a schedule. Include therapy into her daily life, teach her and encourage independence (which I struggled with before), help her with communicating effectively.....
The one thing I cant teach her.... The reason we put her in an inclusive pre-school (google it.) in the first place...
She doesn't have real friends. That's so hard. I may be the only mother out there that doesn't want to be her daughters best friend. I want her to make her own friends. I want there to be people in her life, her age, that know she different... but play and dance with her... because they love her.
I feel like my heart is falling apart when I see kids ignoring her because she isn't interesting or because she doesn't understand how to play hide and seek.
I wish everyone could see her how Mike and I do. She is so much more amazing than I can ever hope to be! She will probably never be a ballet star or a mathematician, but I feel like if I can succeed in not letting the world change her based on what is "normal" and how she "should be"... she might just change the world... at least part of it.