This week I had a fabulous experience visiting the secondary school that Mr V and I are hoping the Dude will attend next academic year. It's one of the nicest places I’ve visited, there was a lovely happy vibe throughout the school. Staff and students alike were so happy, there was laughter coming from classrooms, and the whole place had a wonderful calm feel.
Sitting in the sports hall with other prospective parents, listening to the Headteacher explaining about the different classes and activities a thought hit me like a steam train. My tiny baby boy is coming to the end of his time at a school that has been central to all of our lives for almost 8 years, and I’m not ready. In a heartbeat I found myself fighting to control my emotions – you see, my boy's primary school is rather special. More like a family than a school, its small size means that relationships between families are forged quickly.
The staff love the children as their own and celebrate each achievement alongside us with the same level of joy as if our children had won the Nobel Prize! It is in a large part thanks to this school that our son has developed into the happy, confident and lovely young man that he is…they have worked alongside us where his development is concerned, taking on additional therapies to carry on work that we do at home. And they have calmed him on more ambulance rides across the city than I care to think about as he was raced to the hospital due to seizures or respiratory complications.
I am so not ready for him to move on to the next stage. The Dude however most definitely IS. He is 100% ready, excited to keep learning and ready to meet new friends as well as reconnect with old ones. And the School in question feels like a perfect fit for my inquisitive, intelligent but complex little chap.
And then I looked around at the other parents and realised that each and every one of them was going through the same tsunami of emotions. It’s a big step for any parent and when it comes to our additional needs kids that step feels absolutely enormous. The kids may be ready for this, but the parents may need a bit more reassurance and a lot of strong coffee!