Last week saw the start of Reception for Dylan and the start of Year 3 for Oli. Charlotte is continuing at the same nursery she started at the beginning of the year but is doing a couple more mornings. Oli was excited, and so was his little sister but as for Dylan, we had no idea how he was feeling, if we are honest we don’t even think he knew exactly where he was going let alone what journey he was about to start. Safe to say there was no picture picture ‘first day of school’ photo for us, it was effort trying to capture what I did get. By the time we got to the front doorstep, it was a case of getting an emotional Dylan into the car.
I had come to terms with the fact Dylan was starting his school days at a SEN (special educational needs) school and knowing that his classroom was right next door to where he spent his nursery days was comforting. He had a familiar teacher in his class and most of his days will be spent playing and having fun. He was in a fantastic school which was classed as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and will be the best place for him to develop his life.
What I was not expecting was the way I felt the moment I walked into Oli’s playground to wave goodbye to him. We had to go through the playground which had parents waiting with their reception children to start their first day of school. It was like a shot to the heart. Dylan was meant to be standing there with me. Dylan was meant to be one of those children waiting for his first day of school right there in that playground. He was meant to be wearing his brothers hand me downs and looking forward to seeing him in the playground at lunchtime. I was in tears as I thought about all of this for the first time, the unexpected emotions that morning came crashing down on me.
I saw parents that I knew with children that I have watched gone from bump to reception child. They were talking to their parents, Dylan still does not talk and unlike the children could not tell me what he was looking forward to or even put up a fight about not wanting to leave me. It was all so different to how I imagined back when he was born, back before Autism became such a big part of our lives. These thoughts were still swirling as we dropped Dylan off into his classroom, he was confused and worked up as he went in, but the moment he saw he could go outside, he was happy.
Oli went off happy into his new classroom and Charlotte dropped off for her morning at the nursery. I was in such an emotional state that the man took me for a Frankie & Benny’s breakfast to comfort me.