My biggest concern for Ella has always been her future. What will she do? How will she function? Will there be people around her to help? And most weighing…will she be accepted? My heart aches for Ella and the comments that she will endure. I want to believe that she’ll be fine and others will see her as an equal, but the reality is that I hear the comments and see the stares, and I know that one day (sooner than I’d like) Ella will also hear the comments and see the stares. And as equally concerning…will she be included, and if so, how?
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been spending Ella’s preschool days close to the church. I’m just not ready to venture too far. Call me overly protective…call me paranoid…I say I’m just being cautious (ok, and a bit paranoid…and overly protective). My time is much more productive than it sounds, and the last 2 preschool days have actually been pretty productive. Today, for example, I cleaned out the van. That was quite the task and it took me 2 hours to get it done. Half way through my dust buster died, so I only got a portion vacuumed. I digress…after I was finished cleaning out the van, I had a couple of phone calls to make and a lunch to eat, so I was sitting in the drivers seat. As I was finishing up my sandwich, I saw Ella’s class come outside to play.
Ella didn’t know I was there. Her teachers didn’t know I was there (I’m pretty sure). I was just able to watch and see how things played out. I felt a little guilty, almost like I was eavesdropping on someones private conversation. I justified my watching by telling myself that I didn’t plan for her class to come out while I was sitting right there, and I surely didn’t know that her class would go to the playground near my van (we have 3 playgrounds and the other 2 weren’t in sight of my van). During recess Ella didn’t run around and play like the other kids. She just sat on a bench next to the teachers assistant. I know it sounds sad, but it didn’t bother me. Ella isn’t the kid that’s going to be running around the playground. I think it’s partly because of her EB and partly because that’s just her temperament. There are lots of EB kids that run around and play right along with their classmates, but Ella’s more of an observer. She likes to just watch and see what other kids are doing. She’s the 3 year old who sat through a 2 hour Senate hearing without making much noise. She’s the kid that can sit through an entire Sunday morning church service without making a peep. She’s just that kid. Besides, at least she was getting fresh air, right?
Soon I saw Ella’s teacher call all of the kids over near where Ella was sitting. They all sat in a circle on the ground and did an activity that included everyone…even Ella (who got off the bench to join the kids on the ground). I don’t know if it was planned as part of their lesson for the day, or if she saw that Ella was separate from the other kids and was trying to include her. I don’t know what the activity was or how long they played. What I did see was the teacher make an effort to ensure Ella was included, and that meant so much to me. It made me so thankful that we attend an incredible church full of wonderful people. It made me thankful that our church has a preschool that was willing to take Ella as a student. It just made me SO thankful.
With tears rolling down my cheeks I turned on my car and drove out of the parking lot. It was time to let go…even if I did just go to the grocery store down the street.