Her first day of school is almost in the books! Just shy of one hour left in her day. I can barely stand it. Like actually - I CAN'T!!! Strangely I am not worried about her, I MISS her. I'm excited to see her and hear all about her day. Did she make friends? Did she like the songs?
We walked into the classroom this morning and she did not hesitate. Walked right through those doors and into the room like a boss. Greeting everyone with a smile, a wave and even a hug. She was interested in all the toys around the room and wasted no time in venturing over to see what was there. First objects she picked up were 2 school busses, one in each hand. While Daddy and I spoke to the teachers and the EA, she was making herself at home adventuring around the room, testing out and sitting in the wee chairs.
I know there will be a learning curve to this whole thing. She did not like being turned around from the coat room. Girlfriend likes to be freeeeeee. She likes to wander. In the classroom there are boundaries. Open boundaries with no doors. Invisible lines that she needs to learn are actually there even though she can't see them. Lines she can't cross.
As we sat and observed circle time. Hazel was having hard time sitting and staying put without the redirection of her lovely EA. She wasn't picking up on the cues from the other kids to sit criss cross and focus on the teacher cause she's probably going to say something pretty amazing. Maybe she would even sing a song or two. I love her teachers. Love them! That was when my eyes got foggy with tears. Looking at her in the group, as they were singing "The More We Get Together." I'm a sucker for a good song.
As we were watching, Matt looked at me and said, "She needs this!" And at that moment, I was ALL IN. She does need this! She needs to learn to do what she's told, to follow social cues, to share, to play, to contribute. This is where it all begins. I note all of these things here because I can already feel my heart swelling with pride when I post about her classroom skills at the end of the year. Or the beginning of next year. The growth will be so obvious, so worth it. One thing I can always count on with Hazel is that she does and will continue to make me proud.
She needs this.
When we left, Hazel thought she was coming with us. When she learned she wasn't she was upset. We left anyway. She cried for about 10 minutes (I did not because I had decided about 10 minutes prior that this was the best thing for her - ONWARD), was snuggled by her EA and nothing but positive reports have been coming to me since then. The communication has been stellar today and has helped me to stay sane. So far, what a great experience sending my baby off to the big scary, beautiful world.
We went to pick her up, lined up in the queue with the rest of the parents and watched our girl as she played with all the other kids. She was smack dab in the middle of about 7 kids all on the monkey bars. She was interested in them, they were interested in her. She was watching them, doing what they were doing. Her EA was there, helping all the kids, lifting them up. At that moment she was one of them. Some needing a little boost at times and some doing it on their own. Isn't that just how life is sometimes? We all need a little boost here and there at some point.
As we sat there like creeps, sneaking pics, not even blinking, we saw Hazel leave the bars and walk toward the fence. The other kids quickly noticed that she had gone and followed over to join her.
When we went in to pick her up, it was absolute magic. She locked in on us and smiled the biggest smile. She started running towards us. She didn't stop until she landed in the outstretched arms of her sister. Even though Daddy was there with his arms ready as well, Nola was the one she wanted, perhaps needed. Just to enhance the glorious moment even more her EA was there to exclaim, "Best first day EVER!!!" I really don't know if I can begin to describe the emotions I was feeling... Pride, relief, love, happiness, joy, confidence, HOPE. I'm not sure how I didn't actually explode right there in the school yard (holy buzz kill if I would have).
Like I said, I know that there's going to be a learning curve. I know that there will be plenty of adjustments for us all. Nola and Hazel have no clue what a life without the other is even like, for them it doesn't exist. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I am so glad that Hazel had a good, happy experience to start it all off. Now that she has a good association with school as a happy, fun place, she began to build a healthy, trusting relationship with her teachers and EAs, I am so much more sure that she will adjust and accept her new environment.
And at the very end of her very first day of Junior Kindergarten, she hugged the teachers and EA. She hugged her mommy, daddy and sister. And mostly she had a huge BRIGHT smile on her face, almost like she knew she accomplished something she should be VERY proud of.
As for Nola, well she was in heaven with Mommy and Daddy all to herself. We made sure she was the centre of the universe. She wanted to wear her backpack and carry around her water bottle all day. We went for lunch, walked around the mall, our lovely friend at Mac let her have free reign over the eye shadow and bought the girls some presents, which Nola got to pick out. She was LOVING it!!! I am not sure who loved it more? All I know is that Matt and I were pretty thankful for her company that day.
One last thing...
I am beyond humbled by all of you who took the time to call, text, comment, or 'like' our posts on either FB or IG. I read them all and smiled so big. Y'all have carried us through some pretty anxious times. Without your love and support Hazel's world wouldn't be so bright. We can only do so much from our end, it's how she's received out in the world that tells the story of how far she will go.
THANK YOU times infinity!!!!