Gabriella wasn't the least bit nervous. She was ready. She was excited and eager to move onto this new chapter in her life. I'm not surprised because that is what we have focused on since day 1. We have carried the burden of struggle or difference FOR her, encouraging her to keep her mind on normal things for her age. Because we did focus on that so strong, she was in the right place mentally to start school.
Of course, that meant something different for me.
Sending your baby to school for the first time carries a universal emotion. Excitement, tears, sending your baby off. It's hard. But today was brutal for me as the mom of Gabriella, stroke survivor, heart transplant recipient. The day I learned she was in heart failure and had the possibility of not surviving, I went into war mode. I fought within every boundary possible, and sometimes outside of my boundaries, for her. I spoke for her when she couldn't speak, I have tended to her basic needs since she lost her right arm function, I kept a strict account of every medical appointment, medication, insurance issue and service to ensure she had the best care possible. My job, my life, my goal has been her in a way unlike the typical parent since May 2009. I have fought to keep her. Today felt like in those cartoons when they try and rip the soul out of Daffy Duck and it smacks back into place like a rubber band. When we took her to school and watched her go into line with her class and walk into her building, I felt like my soul was stretching around the building into the door and down the hall, as she walked further away. I was severing that 100% connection we have had. That total control I had over making sure she was always breathing right or had good coloring. Of knowing exactly what she was being exposed to, touching or how often she was cleaning her hands. 7 whole hours of handing her over to a classroom, and to her independence.
But thank God for the classroom, school and independence. My saving grace and why I did not end up in some Country mental institution was because her Sped teacher was holding her hand walking her to class this morning and checks in on her frequently, her godmother works in the front office, the principal and teacher are great and understanding, the nurse is on my speed dial and I on hers, and her cousin is in her class. On top of it all, I will humbly but proudly pat myself on the back for instilling good habits and hopefully god decisions into Gabriella.
This is what we fought for. This is what we begged God to give us. This is what we eagerly anticipated to honor Abbie and those first days of school she would not see but from heaven.
So though I shed more tears than I can count, and the minutes ticked by like a slow leaking faucet, she did fantastic at her first day. I am so proud!