Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rite of Passage

I missed Max's first day of school today. I mean, I wasn't there to take a picture of him in his school clothes and the new backpack with the front door as the backdrop. While Sean filled that role I was filling the minds of some reluctant teenagers with all kinds of trivia about the Spanish Civil War. Did you know the North American troops that joined the Spanish to combat the spread of fascism were called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade? Me neither. Not before today.

I arrived 10 minutes early for pick-up. Very eager mama. All of us eager mamas gathered at the front door in the unseasonably arctic air waiting for our little ones. I wished I'd worn a jacket, or at least a scarf, over my worn-out cardigan. True to my forever self-deprecating form I allowed myself to feel a little pang of discomfort as I noticed the trendy boots, the pricey jeans and the coiffed hair of some of the other moms. My utilitarian bun and yoga pants felt suddenly very sloppy.

And then one of those pretty mamas said, "Oh, look at that little one!" "He's mine," I said, chest puffed up and big grin on my face. Sloppy bun forgotten. Miss Becky was holding his hand as he exited the building. He looked tired, but not too tired to flash that smile that melts my heart. His first day a success despite a momentary meltdown at drop-off. And as we drove the 1.5 miles to our house my eyes teared. My little boy, Max, is now a big boy and it happened so fast.

It didn't really. It felt like it took a really long time. The thing with Down syndrome is that everything takes FOREVER. As a result, Sean and I enjoyed Max's infancy for months and months beyond what's typical. Max may have turned three yesterday, but he's barely a toddler. He learned to walk less than a year ago, doesn't run, doesn't jump, doesn't say a word, and only yesterday played with other children. I mean WITH other children, not alongside them. And now he's "My Schoolboy Max". Seems strange, that's all. Strange and exciting. I welcome the growth and only somewhat mourn the loss of my infant boy. 

So, here's a run-down of the days leading up to the commencement of this new chapter in our lives.

New Mickey pj's in anticipation of the next day's festivities,

preceded by some very real tears shed as his episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ended.

Then the big day: the Mickey-themed birthday party.

Yesterday, the actual birthday, outside in the autumn sun.

And every night for the past several, an exhausted boy falls asleep before his bedtime.


  1. Such wonderful pictures, Amy. Such a nice story. I bet all those mom's with perfectly coiffed hair didn't have a birthday party the day before serving appetizers & dinner to 20 people, and ending at 8:30pm. Then having to clean up some of the mess, get 2 boys to bed, then yourself to bed, and wake up by 5:00am, or earlier, to get dressed and on the road to a job where you had to stand up all day clear minded, then rush off for a 30+ minute drive to pick up your little one after his first day of school. Makes me tired just thinking about this.

  2. Congratulations, Max, on your first day school!

    Awesome birthday cake, btw.