Well Ryan started Kindergarten this week. I felt one with thousands of parents around the country as we said goodbye to our babies and welcomed our kids. But for me, sending Ryan to Kindergarten was more then that. It almost felt like I had finished a marathon. I know that there are many more "races" to come throughout Ryan's life but as I was standing there watching Ryan run with joy into his classroom I felt a sense of accomplishment.
I remembered the depressing times of not knowing if Ryan was going to ever talk, ever be able to make any friends, or to ever stop throwing things and biting me. I thought of all the work, all the therapists, all the time that has gone into preparing Ryan for this very moment. I remembered the times when we were waiting for Ryan to hit developmental milestones, I would always say that I just wanted Ryan to be happy. I did not want to push on him what I thought he needed to be happy. I thought that if he was truly happy with no friends then I would be happy for him with no friends. If Ryan was happy playing "doorman" for 2 hours then I was happy for him to play "doorman" for 2 hours. Of course we worked nonstop with therapists and countless hours by myself to advance Ryan in age appropriate activities, but more important to me then Ryan reaching those goals was that I just wanted him to be happy.
So here I was dropping my little boy off at kindergarten for his first day. He was one of 35 kids in his class, not on an IEP, and already had a friend in a different class. But more important then all of that was the giant smile on his face as he waved goodbye to me. He was truly happy.