First Day of School Olympics

Surely I’m not the only one who imagines her life as if it were a movie trailer. It’s the first day of school. For some moms their trailer for today would have a horror motif.  For some, it is a Hal-Mark ‘coming of age’ movie, heavy on the sap. For others, it is “How Momma Got Her Groove Back”.

Today I sent my son to kindergarten. This afternoon, my 3 year old ‘chromosomally-enhanced’ leukemia survivor will go to Pre-K. Meanwhile, the 2016 Olympics dominate televisions worldwide. Thus, today’s movie trailer is cool, speedy and has  an Olympic theme… a la Cool Runnings. We stand out like a Jamaican bobsledding team.

The fact is, what many families do naturally can be herculean tasks for us. We’ve had thousands of hours of therapy, practice, training, doctor’s appointments and pep talks to get to this moment.

Today we walked the stroller up into a crowd of parents, students and teachers and prepared for the day. Much like these athletes, by the time we get to what we have trained and worked for, we are ready. Excited. Confident.

Frankly, it was a tiny bit of a mess. The heat and humidity killed the hair styles. My child’s teacher and para-professionals weren’t there. No one knew where he should go because his room was not on the kinder-hall, but with the 6th graders.

I laughed. Really. My kid was knocking on the doors and trying to sneak in with the 6th graders. I ultimately let another teacher take him by the hand to deliver him. There wasn’t a goodbye, a wave, or anything. We were ready and confident because we had our crowd.

These athletes are surrounded by cheering fans, family, coaches and their flags. I envisioned the many doctors, therapists, family members, friends… all those who helped us learn new words, how to eat, how to crawl, how to take steps, and how to read sight words.

We all need to be reminded of the good others see in us. It’s hard to argue with a motivational speech from Yul Brenner. (” I see pride! I see power!..)

The fact is, you can look at a school and pick out kids who don’t seem like they ‘belong’, whatever that means.  30 years ago, keeping them home or in an institution was the usual course of action for a child with Down’s Syndrome. Instead we are facing challenges head on and defying the odds.  However, in the Olympic games we call that “A Cinderella Story”.

Yes, there are those who excel and dominate at school. Academia is the wheelhouse in which they thrive and I LOVE that.

My Team… well, we are easy to spot. We are often underdogs. We sing a lot. We aren’t polished. I am Mom. I am the coach. I get us out of our comfort zone and figure it out. I cheer like a fool when we qualify and do the basic things.

This time last year, infections and scars from cancer were a primary concern and school was not an option until after Christmas.

This year, my William the Conqueror walked on his own two feet and started a new stage without me needing to push.

I sure hope your kids get to interact with kids like mine this year. I’d love to high-five you in the pick-up line and cheer that no one threw up, peed out or cried on the way to school (and that was just the moms!)

We can do this, Y’all.







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