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Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day of Third Grade

The day you think will never actually arrive arrived yesterday---the first day of school.  I always wonder how much Janey realizes what the day is going to bring.  I talked it up for a few days, and she would repeat that it was going to be the first day, but I think she still is always a little surprised when we show up for school.  There's the confusion of summertime school, and there's the confusion of I think her not being totally aware of what tomorrow means, or even today.  Whatever it was, Janey seemed a little stunned to actually be at school at first yesterday.  The first day always features parents and kids gathering at the big inner courtyard her school has.  I figured out it was my 14th first day of school at the Henderson Inclusion School, so I have the routine pretty down!  It's a great feeling, that first day, with excited and nervous kids and parents.  Janey was overwhelmed at first, but then started her running around.  Then she heard the music, being played by part of the arts education team at the school, and she was drawn to it to dance.  I noticed that not another kid in the whole school was over next to the speaker dancing.  Any music at all draws her in, from loud banging stuff to the subtle background music at stores.  The music seemed to settle her down, and she looked happy for the first time in the morning.

And then, her teacher for this year spotted her, Ms. Gailunas, or, as we sometimes call her, Amy.  Amy has known Janey since before she was born.  She is the first person ever I discussed my thoughts with about Janey possibly being autistic.  She is the teacher I credit in a huge way with starting William on the path he is on, turning around his school career and helping him in so many, many ways.  She gave Freddy a delightful 2nd grade year.  And now, she is teaching Janey!  And she is EXCITED to do so.  That's what kept hitting me yesterday.  With how tough the summer was at a lot of points, I'd accept a teacher just doing her job, a school just doing what they are required to do to teach Janey, to have her there so we get a break.  But with the Henderson School, I get so much more.  I get teachers like Amy, excited to see what they can get Janey to do.  I get a whole staff of people that know Janey, many of who knew her from the start of my pregnancy with her, and who love her and are interested in her.  I get school and after school that gives Janey so much more than I could ever give her at home.  I am supremely lucky with her school.

And so Tony and I left without nervousness, knowing Janey was in very good hands.  We went out to lunch, and then we came home and collapsed into a nap.  It was a long summer, and an especially long last few weeks, but as September has always felt to me, the day felt like hope and new beginnings.

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