Today I took Adler to his school to register him for Kindergarten. He will be attending a private faith based school that he actually went to preschool at for 3 months before the PAIN started when he was 3. Today was registration day for K-8 today. That included meeting his teacher and paying the little fee’s and getting his “theme” t-shirt that they can wear on special days since he will be wearing a uniform everyday. And just seeing the school and being there and knowing what it’s all about. And taking his school supplies to his classroom.
He will be going half days and not on chemo days or the day after but since we only have 5 more infusions, that won’t be too long until he can go every day……but still just half days. I figure over a year of chemo treatments will be cause for his body to need rest and rejuvenate. Heal and try to regain strength and some type of normalcy. His body has been through so much. It’s been hurting and fighting for so long now. So yep, half days it is. But that’s still a huge step in the right direction. Forward motion. Momentum. Positive. All good things.
We walked into the school and he immediately was greeted by office staff and even a couple of the construction works knew him. They are adding on a huge church to the school as it is a Lutheran school. (I personally am still dealing with my own religious issues as I know God is good and all that stuff and I feel the need to believe in something, a higher power and I can and have felt the love of such a spirit but I am still working on all that.) He remembered the hallway and the paintings that line the walls. We held hands down the hallway and I held my tears back as I know he’s ready for this. Now me, that’s a different story! I am ready, but scared. I know it’s what’s best for him and it’s the natural progression of his life and ours but it’s still terrifying. But to see his face light up and that smile, oh that gorgeous toothless smile made me feel so good inside. We met his teacher with a hand shake and an instant liking. Her room is orange and yellow with smiley faces adorning everything. The bins were rainbow colored and filled with fun things to do and create. He drew a picture on a paper that said “What makes you smile?” So he drew a character from Street Fighter 4 and a little him. He signed his name and she put it on the board. He was so happy to be there. It just radiated from him like electricity. She went over the kindergarten packet with me and then the mom in me began my side of it. The cancer stuff, the PAIN stuff and I could tell she was a bit uncomfortable. Not in a bad way, but in a “I am responsible for her son with cancer” way. Her eyes were caring yet worried. Her body language shifted and her look was sincere. I am sure it’s not easy being on her side just like it’s not easy being on mine. I told her about the PAIN faces and what to look for if he may be feeling bad like an abnormal headache or dizziness or anything like that. Trying to make it all seem as “not a big deal” as possible. We talked about his medications and how he may need to stand or need a heating pad. Also I told her I have a great book about cancer that I could come and read to the class for her. She liked that idea. Adler is unique, special and yes, he has cancer. He also has a shunt and port to be careful of and yes, he has chronic PAIN. He isn’t like all the other kids and really, that’s all he wants. We chatted with another teacher and then the principal and then headed back down to the office and paid the fee’s and picked out 2 sweatshirts for him with the school logo on them. I took 2 pictures of him too as to again document this part of the journey.
I am letting go of him for a few hours everyday. We will be done with chemo soon and so the ship will be anchored near the shore. We aren’t done yet and with the type of cancer he has he will most likely need more chemo as his tumors will likely grow again. We were told by his doctor not to celebrate quite yet. Don’t get his or our hopes up. We know that too. We know this fight isn’t over. We know he may have to go through it all over again sometime. And no matter how many times I see the good in all of it, that darkness creeps in and like today being a truly happy day, I cried in the shower. I cried hard and long and let it all out and let it all wash down the drain. I cried for the joy of what today represents. I cried for my fear of today and the next and the next. I cried because even though this is a wonderful beginning for him and new adventure and super exciting I am pissed off that it’s not NORMAL like everyone else’s kid starting school. I cried because it hurts, it just hurts sometimes. I cried because my baby is not a baby anymore. He’s growing up, but goddamn it, he’s growing up with cancer and disease and though we don’t let that define him, it’s still there. So yes, I cried and I let it out. It felt good and cleansing but it can wear on the heart and mind sometimes. And as a mom, we snap back to reality and dry off, get dressed, put on our make up and smile through it. Or at least I do.
I will be so happy on his first day of school. And yea, he won’t walk in with all the other kids quite yet and he won’t be there all day and he won’t be able to do all the stuff on the play ground or in gym class but he will have blast! He will make friends, real ones, his own age and not a nurse or doctor!! Though we love all of our nurses and docs. He will get to show off who he is and who he has become and that little world at school can see all the beauty that we see in him.
Bold As Love Adler Bear is going to school!!! He’s taking the life boat from the ship that’s been through the storm of our lives to the mainland now. May HE row it safe and sound and plant his feet firmly on the shore and feel the sun warm his skin and may his heart be filled with the abundant love that is life. May no harm come to him on his daily outings and he return to the ship whole to rejoin me and tell me all about it!!!
(Deep breaths mom, he’s gonna be just fine)