Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From panic to proud

The phone rang and immediately I recognized that it was Cruz's school's phone number. Realizing that I had only put him on the school bus fifteen minutes before panic gripped me. In the three seconds it took me to answer the phone several thoughts raced through my mind. Had the bus been in an accident? Was he sick? Had he thrown up on the bus? Was there a problem with his immunization records (again)? Had I not filled out or sent required paperwork? Was he okay? "Hi Lindsey this is Cruz's teacher"... "Hi, how are you," I tried to hide the panic in my voice and sound casual and breezy but I'm sure the awkwardness peeked through. "I was calling to tell you that Cruz seems to be pretty high functioning for my class room so we want to move him to another room." Relief immediately flooded me. "He has been doing really well in the classroom so we want to put him in a room that has 10-12 students and is more integrated with example students that he can model after." 
Up until this point I wasn't really sure how he was doing during the day. I know he responds well with adults so I presumed that he was behaving really well for the teachers and saving most of his fits until he comes home. He still seems to be pretty aggressive towards Wren and me. Hopefully this new classroom environment will really help boost his behavior up to a new level!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Big day for the big boy!

 Tuesday was Cruz's first day of preschool. I was plagued with anticipation trying to get him ready for big boy school that day. Clueless as to what lay ahead, he bounced around like any other morning watching Dora and playing with Frank. The parking lot was totally full when we pulled in. School busses lined the drive through. We walked across the parking lot and my stomach was tied in knots. I hadn't anticipated feeling such emotion on this day. We walked into the building and Cruz ran up to the reception desk and yelled 'Hi'. His teacher was waiting for us and held Cruz's hand as we all walked back to his room. Upon entering Wren looked around the room and proclaimed, "Whoah!"  She immediately wanted to get down and play with the toys. There was a kitchen and bin of toys, including Woody and Buzz, directly in front of us. We let her play for a minute while we explained to Cruz that this was his new school. I told him that his new teacher was just like his other teachers and that if he needed his hugs during the day that she was the one to go to. Cruz got to hang his backpack up in his own little cubby. We each hugged and kissed him and told him goodbye. He asked for knucks and high fives before we left. "Byeeee" he yelled as we walked out. Tears immediately filled my eyes. It was the strangest feeling. I wasn't nervous or scared for him. I knew he would have fun. I think for the first time I realized he was actually growing up, becoming a big boy going to a big boy school. The entire length of the hallway we could hear him continue to yell, "bye" repeatedly. Each time it seemed to spring more tears inside. I tried so hard to swallow that lump. Stopped at the reception desk to ask a quick question and I totally lost it. The poor receptionist looked at me confused, 'Are you okay?' I couldn't even say anything. Jason stepped in, 'Today is our sons first day'. She gave an understanding look and as we walked out I just let those tears fall. Throughout the drive home I had that tugging at my heart. It was incredibly difficult to realize he is graduating to the next step of life. Entering the public school system and he had only turned three a couple of days ago. He was excited and I knew he would have a blast.

Well, the next morning the school bus came and picked him up from our house. They hadn't told me ahead of time when they would be coming but I knew it would be early. The bus rolled up at 8:00. I frantically tried to get his coat on, backpack, camera, and wren and run out the garage door. He was so excited to see the bus! He had no problem climbing right up those steps into the arms of kind strangers. We waved goodbye and Wren cried when he left. I don't think she cared that he was leaving but she wanted to ride the bus too. 'Ride, Ride, Ride' she cried over and over.

This morning daddy got to be with us when the bus came. Cruz waited patiently at the top of the driveway. Once he was loaded in his seat he gave daddy and Wren high five and knuckles over and over. We watched his mouth yell 'bye' repeatedly as they drove away. So, here we go, on another new adventure with Cruz!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This week was the week that I have dreaded for 9 months. In grief stricken anticipation I tried to just avoid reality all week long. I knew it was coming and there was nothing I could do. I don't handle raw emotion every well. I like to stuff it in a tiny little ball and hide it away somewhere, pretending its not there, hoping it dissolves. I've never been good at confrontation, goodbyes, or sharing feelings. I've gotten better since becoming a wife and mother, by forced practice. But there is something about feeling that wave swell inside of you. I guess I'm afraid that it may just take over and once I start crying I won't stop. I was physically sick to my stomach all day Monday. The doorbell rang at 1:15 and there she stood in all her glory with a glowing halo around her head. It was our last therapy session with Cruz's speech therapist. Cruz had eagerly waited at the door for 20 minutes. Even now I am welling with tears and swallowing a lump in my throat. Its one thing to bond with someone over difficult trials and traumas. Its a whole different kind of bond when someone comes in and bonds with your child and changes their life. Cruz literally asks for Holly almost every hour of every day. He is so excited on the days when I tell him that she is in fact coming. He claps and cheers and jumps up and down. He will even sit by the window and wait for her. I know that deep down he has this understanding that she is the one who comes to help him. It breaks my heart every time he asks for her because I know he is never going to get to have another therapy session with Holly. Our contract with first steps has to end when he turns 3 and starts preschool. The entire session I felt like I couldn't even look her in the eye or I would cry. Holly came into our life when we were at the bottom of the barrel. I was at the end of my rope with Cruz and I didn't know what to do. Calling first steps was what I thought was las resort. Really it was just the beginning of a different chapter. She has been here every single week walking along side us through this crazy journey. She didn't just do what she 'had to do'. Holly would drop off books on my front porch at times, even a plate of cookies. When I had to switch to gluten free Holly was my go to for recipes, advice, you name it. She mentored me through this whole process making herself available to me any time and I don't know what I would have done without her in my life. There has always been that sense of relief that I can ask Holly what to do about any number of given situations. If she didn't know off the top of her head she would research for me. It's a strange feeling the first time or two that someone comes into your home to 'evaluate' your child and 'diagnose' the situation. Then when you find out that person will be coming every single week and it can be intimidating. But Holly became like family to us, even to Franklin who was incredibly excited to see her each time. In thirty years Cruz may not remember this past year, but we will make sure that he is very aware of the journey he led us on and the people that impacted his life. Until Holly came, we didn't know signs, we didn't know about sensory issues, we had never heard of Apraxia. Until Holly came we weren't sure if Cruz was ahead of the curve or behind, if he was always going to have problems or if there was hope. Holly brought a lot of things to us, most of all hope. I couldn't write her a thank you because it would have been ten pages long. And I of course wanted to avoid the rising well of tears, which are now spilling. How can you possibly put into words a thank you that seems appropriate for the life changing impact she had with Cruz. She may never fully know the difference that she made in our family, but we will never forget. This next week Cruz starts ECSE. So we tearfully close one chapter and turn the page to start another.