For the past 3 nights Sebastian has woken up around 1.30/2am. He has a drink of water, burps, and falls back to sleep. I wonder if he has anxiety dreams like I do about the first day of school. I used to have them every year a week before my first day back when I was teaching. I probably had them as a kid too. How do I know that he wants a drink in the middle of our hazy early morning wakefulness? I ask and he smiles. Knowing about his dreams isn’t as easy.
Sebastian’s new backpack is hanging near the front door. It’s black outside and bright green inside. We went through etsy and found some cool patches that I’ll sew on once they arrive. He’s already got his swim clothes and a change of clothes ‘in case’ packed neatly in the the front pockets. I’ve added his bag of reusable nappies too. We are getting ready a little bit at a time, in-between enjoying the last days of summer with neighbourhood walks, swings, and swims. Tonight I’ll finish packing it up and lay his clothes out. And set an alarm for the first time.
Sebastian will be in first grade! He’ll also be riding the bus to school this year. Also for the first time. My stomach in knots. Of course he’s very excited. But me? I worry about everything. Even if I don’t need too.
We got our new ramp for our front steps so we can have a smooth transition to the bus from inside the house. His new bus driver called me this week. (After I called the school to find out why I hadn’t heard from him yet though not because I had called.) Seb will be picked up at 8.30am right in front of our home. Which is almost perfect. Almost because now I can worry about all the parents dropping their kids at the school across the street honking impatiently at the bus stopped in the middle of our one way street. Or I can worry about the bus getting stuck and unable to get through our one way street with both sides lined with cars for morning drop off. And then decide to either come earlier or pick up at the corner which would involve a very cold wait come winter. See I think of everything. I want to rejoice in pick up time because it’s really the perfect time for getting enough sleep and eating breakfast. It’s the time I always meant to leave when I took him to school myself, but never quite left on time.
Pick up time aside there’s the actual ride. I’ve got him set up with a special collar to wear so his head can relax but not fall forward when he’s tired. He’s got his trays and I’ll send a boppy pillow to lean on too. What else? Oh yes. That non-verbal part. That makes me nervous. And a new person that is in charge of my boy. Someone I haven’t met yet that I must trust with my child. My non-verbal, physically dependent child. Someone who is driving him. Without me.
Letting go is never easy.
But it’s important. For Sebastian. And for me.
So I’m sewing. I’m sewing him a new kerchief for every day of the week. Several fun, stylish prints. We are getting ready together too. We wrote a journal about his summer adventures. Then we chose our top five to record on his Step-by-Step switch which he can activate with his new custom switches attached to his tray (communication post in the works). Sebastian vocalized a lot for this. And next we are making digital photo collages. We’ve been looking at photos from our summer adventures to choose our favorites.
Sebastian will be in Grade 1 this year. This will be his first year riding the bus. This will be his last year at this school. He will start the year with a smile, undoubtably. And he will use his smile and his communication book/iPad coupled with his ‘yes/no’ to communicate with everyone.
Starting with the bus driver.