I can’t believe that my daughter is nearly a month into first grade.
It seems like only yesterday that together we took a walk to her future elementary school. She was only three years old then. She sported a Tinker Bell hat atop her head and wore a Cookie Monster backpack – practice for ‘when she got bigger.’ We watched the children during recess as they ran across the school grounds; I watched her watching them, admiring the glow her wide eyes cast. “You’ll be there one day,” I whispered. “You’ll be on the other side of that fence.” A smile swallowed her face whole and she laughed deliriously. I’ll never forget that day. Funny; certain little things come your way in life that you’d never expect to encounter but once they do, you know enough to seize them. You know enough to store them away. Somewhere safe, where they can last forever.
Athena is six now. If you have followed my blog for any length of time then you’ll know I write of her often. She never ceases to inspire me. To teach. She was born with a deletion of her chromosome seven – the punch list of its effects reads like a horror story. But with extensive therapies, she has nearly overcome it all. She does everything full steam ahead. The little things do not escape her.
But first grade has been a big adjustment for her. Children are expected to be more independent within the classroom. Their workload has increased considerably – I joke that the homework she comes home with is now my homework as well. Unfortunately, there have already been a few days where the struggle has been considerable and she’s broken out in tears.
And yet she smiles through it all and plows forward. She smiles and it swallows her face whole, and her eyes dance with a glow unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I can’t help but realize she’s on the other side of that fence now – in life, in all things.
Already, she has learned to capture every little thing. Including me.