A different first

I notice them.

The September girls on the first day with their clothes and their hair and their smiles. In that tender place between childhood and adolescence. Walking to school, waiting for the bus stop, talking, talking, talking.

Does she see them, too?

Rhema’s been in a full day, year round program since she was three years old. Things stay the same for the most part and that’s a good thing. So there’s not really a first day of school, the way I see it. No report cards or promotion certificates; it’s seemed more like one long, long grade.

Even still. We dress her in a new top, put a clip in her hair, and pack a brand new backpack.

Snap a quick picture.

my girl1

All my dreams in stripes.

In a minute the barrette will be thrown to the floor. Before the first day is half over, her new shirt will be shredded, chewed and torn. I’m out of backups, so she’ll come home in a boy’s ill-fitting, old T-shirt.

From shoulders to wrists, her arms will be bruised red and puffy from angry bites. She will have 45 instances of self-injurious behavior. She will have seizure-like twitches and jerks. She will spend time time time in the safe room – a space we’ve approved for her safety and the safety of others when necessary. She’ll gag on her dinner and throw it all up, that and every non-edible thing she ate that day. She’ll cry quietly.

And I won’t know why.

She’ll show me her deep brown eyes for a moment, then look away and smile. And I won’t know why. It will redeem us, bring hope for the second day.

I trust there’s purpose for us and God-glory in this.

Comparisons are a big no-no for special needs moms, still I think about the girls at the bus stop. I honestly don’t wish things were different for me and mine. This time. I just wonder.

15 thoughts on “A different first

  1. Comparisons are a big no no for all of us. We can find so many places where things could be different, “better”. You are right and wise to flee from that. He determines the times and places, my friend. Those girls at the busstop ain’t got nothin’.

  2. thank you for this – there’s some weird sense of normalcy when we hear that others struggle with the same as us (although talking about it is hard, facing it all – harder still). many, many thanks

  3. Thank you for reminding me again that we are not alone in this endless loop of year-round school with no concept of what grade we might be in coupled with laundry and messes and safe rooms and hugs and giggles and tears and pain.. And no concept of why..

    It makes it easier somehow knowing our experience isn’t just ours. I do wish it weren’t so hard at times. But love sees us through day after day..

    As always, I just love you so much.

  4. Thank you for your honesty. I especially connected with the part about comparison…so so true. Psalm 84:11 has been very helpful to me this year with our Aspie. I am asking the question “Why?” a lot less lately. Prayers to your family.

  5. My soul aches for you and all the other
    Parents of special needs children. So thankful you are a friend of Leah. Stay strong. Leah Rauch’s father-Leon

  6. Yesterday I went to pick up my little guy from his 1st day of kindergarten. I got there a little early so I sat in the car and waited. I saw a group of pre-k students being lead back inside from the playground. They were holding onto a long rope with handles at intervals. They were so quiet, and well behaved and cute in their brand new, not yet stained or torn uniforms. They were listening and following directions. Last year that sight would have made me cry. Yesterday, I smiled and thought to myself … “Ahh, so THAT’S what other kids do.”

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