I was up before my alarm - and I thought before the sun. But then I heard it - rain. Hard, pouring rain. My biggest fear for Gavin's first day of school.
Miss Sara arrived bright and early and we got Gavin fed and changed and outside in his chair in record time! His bus pick up is scheduled for 8:20am, but we were asked to be ready outside at 8:10. I am nothing if not a rule follower (no comments, please) so we were out in the garage (and not at the requested curb which is a long driveway walk away) at 8:10 on the dot. Did I mention it was pouring?
At 8:20am, we decided we better get up to the top of the driveway. I covered Gavin's legs with a towel and Sara and I both had golf umbrellas to cover all three of us and his chair. What a mess. It did get me thinking a lot about rain and cold and snow and how I can protect Gavin from the elements while he's in his chair. The sun shade that comes with this chair is not great - and he'd have to take it off on the bus. I did get one thing figured out - I made brownies with a card from Gavin for his new bus driver, Bruce. Hopefully Bruce will be okay with us waiting in the garage on really bad weather days like today. Damn, I wish I was a better baker.
Finally the bus pulled up and I felt my heart start to pound. We had been standing out in the rain for close to 15 minutes, but I was happy to stall. The crew that picked Gavin up was very, very nice.
Gavin loved the lift and stayed nice and dry on the way up, thanks to Sara.
They had a little hiccup strapping him down. As I stood behind the bus with my camera, I watched a line of neighbors on their way to work stop and wait for the bus lights to stop flashing. It was probably a good five minutes that felt like an eternity. Again, I was happy for the stall.
Finally, the time had come. The doors closed. I held my breath and watched the taillights as the bus holding my little boy rolled away. That's when the tears came...fast and hard. Just like today's rain.
I loaded up all the extra things he'd need at school - diapers, his wheelchair base and tray, and tons of toys I was donating to the classroom - and headed over to the school. The bus was just arriving when I pulled up.
Luckily, the rain stopped for a short while and this snap happy Mommy was able to get a lot of photos of the big "first day!"
In the interest of full disclosure, some of these pictures were taken today...and some of these pictures are "fake first day" pictures. I was worried about the first day and between unpredictable weather and unpredictable first day chaos, I didn't want to feel bummed that I didn't get good shots. So, that's my secret. But I'll never tell which ones were today and which ones weren't...
Sara and I walked Gavin into the building and waited until the teachers retrieved Gavin's classmates from the bus. By that time it had started to pour again and I felt terrible for the little ones in wheelchairs that got soaked. Reason number 573 that I'm so happy Gavin has Sara - something like that would never happen to him.
I walked back to the classroom to see him in and immediately met his new Speech Therapist, Miss Whitney. She and I chatted for quite a while and she had seriously done her homework on Gavin!! I was so impressed. She will be there all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays to work with the kids in the classroom and observe them doing their own thing. Then she will work individually with Gavin for speech and feeding.
While I was talking to Whitney, the class had already started their "Book Time." I looked over to see Gavin sitting in a little chair with no supports while Sara read a book to him. He clearly settled in quickly and easily.
Before I left, I had to carry in everything I loaded into my car. Each time I had to ring to get buzzed in. I'm not sure the Principal knew what I was doing so by the last time - when I had to quick run in because I forgot my bag - she had "had it" with me and answered the door with a "Can I HELP you?" I was mortified and instantly felt like I was in trouble. Apparently, I am. She had a chat with Gavin's teacher and requested that Gavin and Sara meet me outside when I come to pick them up. Great. I'm already in trouble on Gavin's first day of school.
All throughout the day, Sara was keeping notes. She did this unprompted. She even bought the notebook herself! She wants to write everything down each day so I will know what's going on (I love her) - and then I can keep it as a keepsake for Gavin's memory box (I love her a lot). She told me everything on the way home, but having this book means so much to me. Just look at one page of today's notes!! (If you click it, it will get bigger!)
When I made my last trip in to pick them up (before I was banished to curb side pick up) I chatted with Miss Megan. She said that Gavin had a great day and was such a joy to have in class. Gavin seems to really like her a lot. (And Sara does, too!) Sara said that Megan reminds her of Miss Janna...and we all know how much Gavin loves Miss Janna!! I have a feeling this is going to work out just fine...
As we left for the day, we stopped outside for a few more photos. I was trying hard to capture the emotion on Gavin's face. I think these last one's - at the end of his first day of school - really do.
Sara told me that during circle time, she felt a little hand on her shoulder. When she looked over at Gavin, he was grinning from ear to ear and looking right at her. I can only imagine what he was thinking...but I bet it was something like, "I'm so glad you're here with me!"
Coincidentally, Ed and I feel the same exact way.
We did it. We survived the first day of school. A new journey has begun.