You may remember reading back in September that James loves his new school. Now, we really loved his little preschool, so this new one had big shoes to fill. What I didn't focus much on was how close it is to our house--it's very, very close. As our friend Marc would say, "it's a 9 iron away". Jay pushes me in the wheelchair and James frequently rides in my lap. This doesn't mean we're early (or even on time always), but we are there and this small new element in our lives has made a huge difference.
As the months passed after my stroke, the likelihood of driving again (at least in the near future) seemed very slight. After multiple, unsuccessful surgical attempts at correcting my double-vision, I would get very sad thinking how poor Jay would now have to take James/pick him up from school everyday. I knew I couldn't be the involved mother I wanted to be. I would never interact with his classmates or his teacher if I couldn't easily get myself to his school. After all, even if I could get there, unpacking the wheelchair/getting me inside that classroom would be terrible and impractical.
I THINK GOD OPENED UP HEAVEN, SAW MY DEEP SADNESS AND GAVE US THIS PRECIOUS SCHOOL FOR JAMES, JUST BEHIND OUR HOUSE.
We don't even get in the car! And he loves going there. Like, really loves it!!! Like gets up on Saturday mornings and begs to go to his "new school".
It also helps that his teacher is straight out of Matilda. "Miss Honey" is the teacher of your dreams for a young child. She is warm and friendly and energetic. She teaches them songs and reads them stories. James can now write his name (well, kinda...)
Jay wheels me right into the classroom almost everyday. Yes, it "puts out" the busy parents a bit and disrupts the quick nature of the drop-off, but it is totally worth it. Jay has explained his reasons for wheeling me in there like this: yes, it would be easier not to, but this way James gets to see that his mommy is a part of his school life. We both feel that a presence at your child's school can greatly determine their success at that school. Moreover, he asserts that just because it's a little more complicated for me to do the normal routine doesn't mean I shouldn't do it. Just because I can't walk well doesn't mean I should not be able to experience the small, lovely moments of life in a real way, like kissing my little boy goodbye as he runs into his classroom.
There were many powerful takeaways from when we ran into Joni last month and got to hear her speak. Her message on compassion for the disabled moved me. Why not let people open the door for you? Why not get in their way? Why not ask them for help? Your life is hard--you are in a wheelchair!
Now, her focus was on how the Christian community could help take care of disabled families and show them deep compassion. It was easy to glean that her thoughts on BEING the disabled one fell along these lines: give people the oppurtunity to help you. You are not in this alone and you should not pretend that you are. Don't live in denial! You need help. Bless others by giving them the opportunity to help you.
I have taken that to heart, for sure. Obviously Jay is the person who most "gets to help me", but also, James helps his Mommy, and even the other parents, kids, teachers, and faculty have not only been accommodating, but they have been kind. I can now be the involved mommy I wanted to be! I joined the PTA and the Booster Club; I'm on the Site Council (helps determine how state funding will be spent at the school) and the "Safe Routes to School" council. I'm there all the time! I am in the process of being cleared to volunteer weekly in the classroom (we want James' buddies seeing that his mommy is in a wheelchair). We are so grateful. Thanks for your prayers on this one. They certainly paid off!