It's the second week back at school and I'm working on settling into the new routines and all that they bring with you both being at school all day. It's Thursday morning, and I've got a cup of tea, the laundry is in the dryer, the kitchen is cleaned up and I can smell the pumpkin spice candle I lit an hour ago (yum), as I sit down at the kitchen counter with my laptop. The house is quiet. Dad actually had to go into the office today, which is rare, so it is VERY quiet. When I look outside the sun is shining, I'm waiting for the heat to dry up the rain that we had last night, so that I can go outside and mow the lawn, but until then, I've got some time and I thought I'd write you a little note.
Yesterday, I came to school to have lunch with each of you. First, I had lunch with Vivianne, because her class eats first. She grabbed two friends and we all sat outside the cafeteria on the 2 highboy tables. This is where children can eat if they have a special guest, and they are allowed (if they want) to choose two friends to sit with them as well. It's kind of a big deal. I brought my lunch and you had the school lunch. We chatted with your friends and had our lunch. Being that we are in the hallway outside the cafeteria, we can see all the kids and teachers walking by on their way to class, or recess, or lunch. It amazes me how many people know you. From the kindergarteners to the fifth graders, and from the teachers to the office staff, you are known by name. People like you. They really, really do. I can't even count the number of times, I've been stopped in the school, so that someone can tell me a little story about you...something funny you did, how kind you were to a friend, what a big help in class you are...seriously, ALL the time. Popular doesn't even seem to incapsulate you. You are like a little beam of joy that floats around, so positive, so bubbly, loving life. Your personality is infectious, everyone wants to be your friend. People immediately start smiling when you are around. There have been many times you have come home distraught over the fact that everyone wants to sit next to you or be your partner, and it's hard for you to be in that situation of having to let someone down, or see the friend that has to go sit at another table because the table you are at is all full. This saddens you. Sometimes, you confide to me that you wish you didn't have so many friends, so it wouldn't be so hard to play a game at recess where it only calls for a certain number of players...so you wouldn't have to say no to a playdate because you already have another one scheduled. You are constantly thinking of how others feel and if you could, I believe you would want to make everyone feel as happy as possible. Not long ago, you said to me, "Mom, I'm worried that I'm not making a big enough difference in this world." Oh honey, if you only knew the amazing impact you have on others. I told you not to worry, that you are doing just fine.
It is now my turn to have lunch with you, Lilah. You are so excited to see me and give me the biggest hug, you hold onto my hand and proudly walk me into the cafeteria. "Come with me mom, I want you to come with me in line to get my food. I know my lunch number!" you say beaming from ear to ear. Because I have already eaten, I opt to just sit with you and drink my water. You lead me to your class's table inside the lunchroom. You want me to sit with you and your class. You scoot so close to be that you are practically sitting on my lap. I ask if I can open your milk for you, you give it a try, and then say sure. Your classmates are eager to talk to me and want to ask me all kinds of questions. You are holding my hand and trying to eat with your other one. You talk and point out each kid in your class. I have to remind you to eat. You are so happy. You finish most of your tray and want me to come with to show me how you empty the tray, which things are recycled, which are trash, which things are compost. We hold hands as we go line up with the rest of your class. You are listening to your teacher and motion for a few of your classmates to go in front of you so that you can be at the back of the line, this way you can hold my hand longer. We get into the hallway and you give me a quick hug and I whisper that I'll see you when I pick you up from school. And off you go. I'm about to leave and then I am stopped by a staff member, she is a teacher assistant in your classroom. She says there is something she MUST tell me about my little Lilah! It is just she and I in the hallway and I am listening. She goes onto tell me that there is a little boy in your class, his name is Dylan. I recognize this name because I have heard you mention his name to me before. She said, that you have been so kind to invite him to play with you and your friends. She said, that often Dylan sits alone and most of the other kids don't give him the time of day. But not you, she says. She watches you take him by the hand and play with him at recess or sit next to him in class. Her eyes are watering now, and I'm starting to think mine might start tearing up as well. She puts her hand to her heart and tells me that Dylan has Downs Syndrome. For a brief moment, nothing is said. The bell rings and she has to go, but she leans in and says, you've got a girl with a BIG heart.I barely get to my car before the tears are rolling down my cheeks because I know you've got a big heart, I've known for oh SO long, and now it's time for the rest of the world get a piece of it, too.
The luckiest mom in the whole world