By Jennifer Swartvagher on February 21, 2014
The unknown is overshadowing my thoughts.
An envelope sits on my kitchen counter. In a few months, Josie will be a kindergartener. The same excitement and sadness fills my heart as it has 6 times before.
The registration packet has some questions left unanswered. Similarly, the corresponding pages in her baby book are still unwritten.
This shouldn't have come as any surprise to me, as the constant reminders are always there.
Milestones were met at her own pace. Her peers were off running and speaking in full sentences while I was awaiting the day she would be able to support her own weight. Nothing could compare to the joy I felt when she took those first steps a few days shy of her second birthday.
I have lost count of the specialists and possible diagnoses thrown at us over the past five years.
With each diagnosis, a weight was lifted as an even heavier one took its place. The unknown always loomed overhead.
I still feel a sense of uncertainty about her future. The weight causes my shoulders to sag a little as my will to fight grows stronger. There is a fire that comes from within me whenever I speak her name.
Over the years, I have grown strangely comfortable with the unknown.
These registration papers have been pulled out of the envelope countless times since I received them two weeks ago. In the past, filling in these answers always proved to be a bit tedious. When your child is not following a typical path, there are different challenges.
Josie was in EI since she was an infant. Isn't a record of her life in a file folder somewhere in the district? Don't they have her IEP? Everything is right there for them to see. Her therapists documented every milestone and accomplishment better than any baby book could have.
I know what the answers to these questions should be, but the reminders of what they aren't are right in front of me in black and white.
The space allowed for medical diagnoses is not long enough.
Speaking? Sitting? Crawling? Walking? Potty training?
Once I put pen to paper, those realities are set in stone.
The more important facts they need to know are that stairs are a struggle. Josie still needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom at scheduled intervals. I always understand her, but will her teachers?
I still have a few weeks to finish filling out the papers. There are so many pieces integral to Josie's story. These forms could never reveal the big picture. I wish I could just answer the questions with the URL to my blog. Her teachers can learn everything they need to know there.
Where is the section in the packet where I tell the district that Josie's smile lights up the room? Her laughter is infectious. Josie is sweet and loving and is a friend to everyone. She knows that her best friend's name starts with a T. Josie remembers the lyrics to every song on the radio, even the ones I don't want her to. Her observations are always spot on, she just needs a few minutes in order to figure out how to put her thoughts into words. Please give her the time she needs and she will show you.
I put down the packet again for the hundredth time and find my sweet girl quietly playing with her ponies. As soon as I catch her eye, she comes over and showers me with kisses and hugs. Without saying a word, my daughter reminds me that the unknown is not always a scary place.
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