Wednesday, August 24, 2016
"He's Not Going to Go To Kindergarten With It"
When Jack was in the NICU and on one type of breathing support or another, his nurses liked to say, "Don't worry, he's not going to go to Kindergarten with it." But I worried. Some NICU parents are optimists. They can envision their child in the future, heading to school or playing a sport. Others, like me, just lived in the present, making it through each day. I found it hard to project into the future. Maybe it was because Jack was our first child. I had no other parenting experience. So I didn't see him on his first day of school or at his first soccer practice. Kindergarten seemed SO far away. And now it's tomorrow.
My way of coping (living in the present) actually turned out quite nicely, though, because each new thing Jack does or each new moment we experience together is always a nice little surprise. But his special NICU nurse could see his future and probably aren't surprised. One nurse in particular, we call her Aunt Cindy, told me about a dream she had of him after he had been in the NICU almost 3 months. She dreamed that Jack was in his Kindergarten classroom and she was standing at the back. (Mind you, he weighed about 4 pounds at the time she had this Kindergarten dream and was still using C-Pap for breathing and was getting his nutrition from a feeding tube...and lived in a hospital. I couldn't see past all of that. But she could.) As she watched him in his classroom, he turned to her and said, "You can go now Aunt Cindy." That was it. A simple dream. But I'm so grateful she told me about it. She helped me look forward to something that I was afraid to dream of for our Jack Ryan. Those NICU nurses. They save babies...and their mamas too.
I had to leave him every day, for 112 days, while he was in the NICU. (I know I mention that A LOT. It's not something you ever forget, the leaving.) So sending him to Kindergarten isn't giving me as much anxiety as I had thought. I've had to let him go so many times before. But this "letting go" is so much different. Then it was drenched in fear; now in pride. Our boy has grown so much, in so many ways in the past 6 years. He has worked hard. So hard. And now he's ready to take on the world. Ok, maybe just Kindergarten. But he is ready. I'm not going to make any predictions, but I can't wait to see what his future will be.
(Pictures of the first day, accompanied with a full report, will follow!)