We came to our first preschool story hour two years ago.
We had to leave because my daughter had a meltdown and tore apart some shelves. You may not remember that, but I do. It took all my courage and strength to try it again when school had started and the summer crowd thinned out. But we did it. And it was a little better. Slowly but surely, she came out of her shell. She started to sing along, to do crafts independently. Then one day, she ran to you and took your hand. She hugged you and claimed you as hers. You ceased to be strangers and became one of us. A safe place, full of friends.
My son loved you immediately. He talked of nothing but library days and started checking out books by the dozens. I was shocked when he spoke to you, befriended all the staff, charmed you with his facts and brutally honest commentary on life. He even found a few friends his age there, though he preferred you. If I lost sight of him, I found him with one of you. At the checkout counter chatting about our family dog, at the craft table in deep discussion about his plans for retirement, learning to use the Minecraft server, or behind the director's desk laughing at a poop joke. You're his kind of people. A safe place, full of friends.
That doesn't sound like too much. But these are huge milestones for my children. Milestones I wasn't sure they would ever see realized. Progress I was scared they'd never make.
Because two years ago, my daughter was essentially nonverbal. She could repeat only ten words at two and a half years old. Her severe sensory issues prevented her from typical daily functioning. She screamed all day, she wouldn't eat anything but yogurt, she'd never picked up a toy, let alone a book. At that time, I felt like I'd failed her. We were in speech and occupational therapy four days a week and awaiting a full developmental evaluation at an esteemed pediatric clinic. I was terrified and drowning. Fast forward two years, and the gravity of her sitting happily, doing a look and find book, while chattering away about her favorite color and princess may be lost on some, on you even. But never on me. Never will I watch her light up and high-five you without marveling and silently sending up a grateful prayer into the universe.
You welcome my children. You respect their differences and encourage their individuality. You show them what acceptance means. You remind me what it looks like, when I've all but forgotten.
|The ones in the front, lying on the rug? Those are mine.|
With all my love and gratitude,
Seeker and The Prof's over-caffeinated Mom