I've been a bundle of nerves leading up to taking Jack to his first day of preschool. Just ask my husband. Not an all out, can't function nervous wreck. But a continually anxious just under the surface, something is up, type of a nervous. Here's why: I've been thinking of every single thing imaginable that could possibly go wrong. Do Jack's teachers know he can't go up and down stairs? That he only just became mobile this summer, really? Do they know that they need to call us immediately if his g-tube comes out? That hole closes in under an hour! Do they have enough people working to watch out for him? Do they know he has CVI and how that challenges him in new places and spaces? How about his quirks? When he bites his finger or when he gives them a kiss on the shoulder (the most precious way to ask for help ever)? What if they give him his snack and he actually decides to take a bite, gags, and throws up? Or worse. What if he chokes?
The list went on and on and on. It still does, actually. Dropping Jack off this morning was really unnerving. No matter how many reassurances we get as preemie parents, there is just no one that knows our kids better than us.
We have never left Jack with a babysitter, other than Cheeks and Grams, Nans and Pops. I would probably trust a few of my close friends, but really, it's just hard unless you have lots of practice taking care of Jack. And it's this in between time, while the teachers are still getting to know him, that really gets me on edge. He can't tell them what he wants or needs. And he probably will wonder why we are leaving him at this place. His comprehension just isn't there for any explanation. I go back and forth between feeling bad for dropping him off and excitement for his hopefully newly gained independence. This is normal, but it is so hard. Can ya tell I'm torn?
The first thing this morning, I started to get texts from my closest family and friends. Thank you. They meant a lot. Those peeps know how big of a deal this is to us. How leaving your medically fragile miracle baby is so hard but so good for him. Maybe I have some attachment issues (yes, I probably do) but I guess deep down it's a big deal because I almost lost my boy so many times when he was a baby, in the NICU, that I want to hold on even tighter. To protect him even more. Sometimes I think the harder I hold on, the safer he will be... when we all know this logic doesn't hold. Oh mamas who have been there, help a girlfriend out!
The significance of Jack being able to go to school is not lost on me. The other night it dawned on me how incredibly blessed we are to even be able to send Jack to a school. To even have him in our lives, at our home, and not in a hospital. I see my fellow shunt mama friend, Shannon, dealing with the most horrific in and out of the hospital ordeal with her beautiful daughter. Her daughter has shunts like Jack, but her hydrocephalus is so incredibly complex and difficult. She would give everything for her daughter to be able to head off to school being surgery, sickness, and pain free. I mention this only to say that I don't want to miss the blessing of being able to send Jack to school just because I am anxious.
A few have warned me that this may get harder before it gets easier. That statement alone sounds like it came from a different time and a different place. NICU anyone? So we will go back on Wednesday and again on Friday. And I will let you all know how it's going. Until then, say a little prayer for Jack as he adjusts to his new routine (and for mommy, too, please).
By the way, upon picking Jack up, the teacher reported that Jack did pretty well, but screamed some and bit his fingers some. She wanted to make sure that he would not hurt himself when doing this. She said that he enjoyed the swing during recess and sat in the circle and passed a ball (for awhile). He enjoyed looking through some books. All in all, a pretty decent first day.
P.S. One of my biggest worries did not come true today. I was afraid that Jack would toss a toy over his head and in doing so, hit another kid who got caught in the crossfire. It's his common way of finishing playing with a toy - just a toss over the shoulder. Obviously this is dangerous around other kids. Instead, the tables were turned and little classmate hurled a huge wooden puzzle and it nailed Jack squarely in the back of the head.