When the Wheels Go Round & Round

I sat in the front row of an elementary classroom today, as my son stood at the front with his classmates singing the Wheels on the Bus with corresponding hand motions. I spent nearly every moment of the preschool ceremony willing myself not to the cry tears of joy threatening to spill down my cheeks. I swallowed hard, took deep breaths, and blinked back tears.

When Alvaro was born, and I was told about his une
xpected diagnosis, never did I think I would feel the joy and pride I felt watching my little boy sing the Wheels on the Bus. It felt so “normal”, so typical.  I feared a lot of things when I was told he had Down syndrome. I couldn’t see past my fear and discouragement about what his diagnosis could mean for his future.

And here I sat, watching my son thoroughly enjoying singing one of his favorite songs, as any other preschool student would do.

Some days I am saddened that I can’t fully understand everything he says. He works really hard to learn to say what comes naturally to other preschoolers. There are many times he tells me a story, or asks me a question, and I smile in response, say- oh yeah! All the while having no clue what he’s talking about. But I certainly want to encourage his confidence and boldness.

Sometimes I’m also saddened that I have no idea what the next 2 years will hold for him when he transitions out of preschool. Will he be able to remember his colors? Will he be able to enunciate full sentences? Will he be ready for the next level? Will he be allowed to attend a mainstream Kindergarten class? W
ill he thrive in a non-self-contained environment? Will I have to fight for inclusion? Will he need tutors? Will he be graded on a curve and be passed on just because he has a disability or will he be allowed to earn his grades and work for them?

There is so much to think about. And with 2 years of potential and growth ahead of us, there is no telling which way it will go.

With my typical child, Joel, this isn’t a concern. These aren’t thoughts or realities I need to consider and prepare myself for. And the older Alvaro gets, the more aware I am about the different circumstances that face him vs his typical peers.

But today, today was a day of peace and joy. Today none of those things mattered. Here was my son, growing, thriving, learning, and loving every minute of it. And I couldn’t have been prouder (or more emotional for that matter).

I love his school and his amazing teachers. And I find myself so very thankful to live in a day and age where he is given opportunities to be like any other kid, with some extra help and support as needed. Most of all I am grateful for days like today. On days like today, he is just any other kid, singing and motioning The Wheel of the Bus, and loving it. 


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