Monday, September 5, 2011

Two of my boys are going back to school

I didn't quite realize the impact of the first day of school and the emotions that I might feel.

Ty starts Grade 3 tomorrow and I'm starting to get worried for him. He is such a sweet, sensitive kid, but he's going through a hard time right now with anxiety and worry....what's going to happen with a bunch of new changes? I'll speak to the teacher and tell her/him about losing Zack (I'm sure they will know) and the potential issues that might arise from that grief. I'll be sure to tell them what we see happening at home and I hope that they encourage him and motivate him in a way that helps him to shine. While I know that he is anxious about anything new in his life, I hope that he will relax a bit when he sees his new friends and finds out who his new teacher is. When I looked at the photos from last year, Ty's face looks so terrified (see left)....and I hope that this year, I can capture that amazing smile that lights up his face.

Don't let this happy face fool you...he was a mess on the first day of was I!!! I'm blown away that Jayden will be starting JK on Mondays, Wednesdays and alternate Fridays at Ty's school! We are so lucky to have Mrs. Gambino as his teacher this year. She has not only supported our family over the last few months, she even asked to have Jayden in her class JUST so she could "work" with our family. How amazing is that? I'm nervous about the separation wiht Jayden...he sure is a mommy's boy...but he has 4 great friends in the class and a teacher that is wonderful. I can't wait to walk him to the fence and see him start this new adventure in his life. I'm so proud of him and so excited for his teacher to laugh every day because of his incredible sense of humour!

The one thing that is not as it should be is that only two boys are starting school.

Paul and I had struggled last winter with the decision to send Zack to JK or keep him home and away from the germs one more year. We had already made the decision for Zack to attend an alternate school in which they have a large hearing impaired and deaf population. They have two deaf classes and even have a Sign of the Week throughout the entire school- we loved that he would have been embraced! We were totally comfortable in our choice of school (16th Avenue Public School in Richmond Hill) and eager to have him have the type of attention to language and communication that he would have had there. We had met a fabulous and caring teacher who was excited to have a "cutie" like Zack in her classroom. We had worked with Zack's speech therapists, teacher of the deaf and the school board to place him in the Sign/Deaf class with only 5 other kids in primary grades. The plan was set....

Our biggest decision was whether the benefits of school would outweigh the risks to his health. We were very close to making the decision to have his nurse, Sue as well as his Teacher of the Deaf work with him daily at home, rather than exposing him to the risks at school.

And now, here we are. My two boys are ready to start the next phase of their lives, and we are missing this big step for Zack.

I wish that he had had a chance to carry his Elmo knapsack into school, had a cubbie with his name on it and had everything labeled from head to toe! He would have loved the attention in the class, but would have wanted to have his own way. He would have hated having to sit down for too long, but he would have thrived with older kids in the class. He would have had Gtube lunches with vanilla pudding and chewed the toys and puzzles. He would have tried to run at recess to keep up, and thrown his hearing aids all day. Zack would have danced and loved the music time, and put up a fight when it was time to clean up. He would have surrounded himself with drums and blocks, and made the teachers laugh when he tried to trick them.

I'll miss the chance to have had started this school journey with Zack. While, it would have been full of obstacles and frustration...there would have been so much pride and progress. I wish that he had known what it was like to go to school like all the other kids. While he was so incredibly fragile and special, we always hoped that he would experience all things normal...just like his brothers.

Tomorrow will be a wonderful day to start fresh for another school year....but a sad day knowing that I will never feel the pride of seeing Zack start his first day too.


Mom2Michael said...

I can't even pretend to know what this feels like. Nothing I could say seems enough. So, I will instead send hugs & kisses to you all and will be thinking about you tomorrow!! xo

Smita said...

Beautifully written and heartfelt - I am sure Zack will be giving Ty strength and confidence for this new year and he will be helping Jayden to flourish incubus new environment....he will always be there for his brothers...xo

Mom2twomoos said...

Zack is always going to be right beside Jayden & Ty doing everything that they do.

Tons of love from me & you know I will be thinking of you as always.


@katsima said...

Heather, I will be thinking of you all tomorrow. I can't even imagine the range of emotions you must be feeling right now. I'm sure Zack will be there in some way to help his brothers adjust to the new school year, and I know he would be so proud of the strength you've shown along your journey. No doubt tomorrow will be a difficult day for you, so I'm sending you a great big hug.

mama said...

My thoughts go out to you and your family as you embark on a journey without the physical zack. He might not be there but he is with you all whenever you need it.

It's hard to send your babies off to someone else but when you miss the ability to have that milestone it would be even worse.

Sherry C said...

oh my gosh Heather I'm sending you a big hug! Mrs Gambino is the absolute best so sweet Jayden is going to love his time in her class.

stayingalivemoma said...

I am so saddened to hear of your loss, but happy that you are trying to be strong for your other children. We never know what path we will walk down in life. All we can do is stroll down it.
I know all too well the loss of a child although not quite the same as having one here in this world and losing it, the hurt is just as strong with a miscarriage. I hope you will read my story about my son Lakota and be inspired as you have inspired me. God Bless!

Rossana said...

Just (hugs).

Multi-Testing Mommy said...


I'm glad that this year was a tad bit easier.

Emily Mitchell said...

Just (hugs).