the way things are

I know people have strong feelings about a lot of things right now. I have chosen to keep quiet about my strong feelings about things, because I have run out of capacity, lately. My philosophy has just been to keep to myself and take care of my family.

We have sacrificed a lot in the last year and a half, in order to keep Kiran safe. A lot of people haven’t understood the level of sacrifice we chose, and that’s okay, mostly. The whole point is that he’s still here. I cannot – and do not wish to – fathom a reality where that is not so.

Making the decision to keep Kiran home this fall and start his kindergarten year online/virtually was one that I have been grieving, deeply, ever since we made it. There is no doubt in my mind or heart that it was the right decision to make, but I really didn’t want this for him. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really want it for ME, either. I am not a teacher, certainly not a special education teacher, nor am I a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist (Yet!)…and I just really didn’t want to be in this position again.

There is a lot going on with health mitigation in the political and legal world in Iowa right now, especially as it relates to public education. I doubt I have to explain it here, but basically, this week, our school district could once again legally make the decision on whether or not to put a universal mask mandate in place. And our superintendent and school board members came through for kids like Kiran, who absolutely deserve – and need – to have a safe environment where they can learn in person. The vote was unanimous – masks will once again be required in all buildings by all people.

Again, I know people have strong feelings. But hear me when I say this: This is LIFE-CHANGING for Kiran and my family. We have quietly sacrificed and gone about our business and done our best educating him from home since March 2020. I could continue to do so, with success. I already see how much he is learning, especially with his virtual learning groups in the special education classroom. But, the screen fatigue and frustration behaviors I started to see toward the end of the school year last year, I am already seeing this week – week 4 of school.

So. It is time. His dad and I discussed quite a bit today about how we move forward and navigate the transition to in-person school for Kiran. With masking in place and good news about the vaccine on the horizon for kids his age, the benefits outweigh the risk. Monday, we officially start the process.

It will be a process. I am not sure what all it will take, but we anticipate a couple weeks before everything is lined up and ready. Because this was the kindergarten transition and Kiran is starting in a new school building, a lot of the in-person transition stuff wasn’t taken care of at the beginning of the year. Health documents need updated and g-tube education needs to take place. I don’t know what the associate situation will be, if they have someone or will need to hire someone to be one-on-one with him. I just know I plan to do everything I can to make the transition go smoothly.

Also, thinking about the possibility of this the other night, I cried. I cried a lot. This is no ordinary transition into kindergarten, not in any sense. Kiran has been home with me all day, most days, for a year and a half. As hard as it’s been…as many days as I have just wished for ten minutes to be alone…as overwhelmed and exhausted as I have been trying to wear alllllll the many hats to help Kiran thrive…

I am going to miss it. I am going to miss HIM. I have never forgotten to stop and take the time to appreciate how lucky I have been, to get this front row seat to his education. I have watched so many tiny steps of progress and seen so many concepts click for him after so much work…it has been such an amazing experience. Like it or not, I am going to miss a lot of those moments now. They will happen all day every day at school, and I may or may not hear about them later. And even though it was never “supposed to be this way”, this past year and a half, it was. It was this way. And it makes me sad knowing it must now go to the way it “should have” been.

It is absolutely what Kiran needs, wants, deserves. I am thrilled for him, and I know that he will grow so much learning alongside his peers. There are just some things, like true real life social interactions with others, we can’t replicate at home. He will be so excited. He loves his people.

But one of these soon here days…whenever it is time, and I drop him off for his first day of in-person kindergarten….

I am going to be a puddle. A giant, weeping mess of a woman. And it will be so, SO hard to let go.

It’s a long road ahead, but we journey together. This part of our journey is coming to an end, and it is time to navigate a new path. I’d like to say I’m ready – I’m not – but I do know, without a doubt in my head or my heart, it is time.

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