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.
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.