B is back, and all feels a little more right in our world.
The next few days will bring a few things that we have not been looking forward to . . . including Sam's first IEP and her graduation from her amazing little school she's been at the last year.
Tuesday, B and I tour preschool programs that we *think* are likely candidates for what the school district will offer for Sammie B. I already toured these programs at the end of last year, but since the district made some changes over the summer, we are going back to see them in action again now that we've also looked at a few private programs and have more to compare them to. Tuesday afternoon, I'll see my high-risk OB for my now weekly appointment.
Wednesday, I'll spend the day preparing (from bed!) for Sammie B's IEP meeting on Thursday -- pulling all the evaluations and assessments, therapists' reports, her teacher's reports from her current program, drafting the IEP goals B and I would like to see, talking with my special education attorney friend, and just generally getting our ducks in a row. (Can you say, "bring it on school district? This mama will be prepared!").
And, then . . . Thursday is the IEP meeting. I *feel* like we have a great IEP team, and I'm cautiously optimistic, but at the same time, lately we've heard so many absolute horror stories from other kiddos transitioning out of Sam's little center-based EI program (her school, as we call it) to the school district, so I'm scared we'll walk in "cautiously optimistic" and get blind-sighted. Part of the stress of this journey is constantly worrying that *this* will be the meeting or evaluation or report or doctor's appointment or whatever that will knock me over. (Good lessons that I'm not in control, perhaps?) Plus, no one wants to sit in a room for hours and discuss your child's areas of weakness and struggle. Seriously, can't we all just recognize that she's awesome and magic and wonderful and deserves the world and move on from there?
I *hate* that the stress and worry and anxiety of the IEP has to happen the WEEK of her birthday. A week that should just be about celebrating my girl. But, B and I decided today that we fight like hell (if needed) during the IEP meeting, and then . . . we walk out, and we forget about it for a few days. And, in those days, we focus on the most important thing in all of this . . . our girl. And, in celebrating three magical years of her. Three wonderful, magical, amazing years in which we've learned so much and felt more love than we ever knew possible. The IEP reports and the goals and the school district's "offer" will still be around next Monday, but the weekend will be about celebrating our girl. Our family.
Friday, Sammie B graduates from her EI center-based program, and B and I both know we will likely SOB at the graduation. The people at that program have been ah-maz-ing. Plain and simple. Her teachers have clearly fallen head over heels in love with her (hard not to) and made every effort to "get" her . . . and have never, ever underestimated her, but have believed in and fostered and encouraged her potential in incredible ways. I mentioned to B tonight how much I HATE leaving that program and I couldn't even talk without crying. At the end of her last school day there, we'll have a little graduation party with her classmates and teachers (Winnie-the-Pooh themed, Sam's pick!) with ice cream and a little slideshow of pictures they've taken of Sam during her time there. Sure to be a tearjerker.
Saturday is Sammie B's actual birthday, and we'll spend the day celebrating and well, just loving on her and enjoying our girl. We have a few VERY fun presents planned for the day, and plan to spend it as a family (with grandparents who will also be in town).
Sunday is her birthday party - Strawberry Shortcake themed (her pick and ironically, the same theme I had for my own third birthday party) - at the little swim school where she takes lessons on Saturdays. Sammie B is truly, truly, truly "in her element" in the water . . . where her body is weightless, and she can move, move, move. We couldn't imagine a better place to have her party.
And then, after a weekend of magic and celebration, Monday we can go back to the IEP, planning, services, etc. (blech) . . . but not over the weekend. Her weekend. That's going to be about CELEBRATING her, CELEBRATING the little girl that made us "mama" and "dada" and celebrating three amazing years of her in our lives.
Even though the coming days bring anxiety, I know we'll get through them. Despite the bumps along the way (including those I share here), this little family is resilient.
* Photo taken by my sweet friend, H, over at Capturing Motherhood. P.S. She also happens to be the mama to little L, Sammie B's classmate and friend.