God must have his plans laid out. To be honest, finding my faith in the last few months has been a challenge. As one friend put it, Satan is trying to step into any crevice he can find. And find cracks and craters he did.

Tomorrow morning, my oldest three will board the bus to school. I know where they are going. I know their teachers and I know the program and then I will come back and ready my youngest for a bus to arrive at our driveway.

Last week at our IEP, I was blown away by the ease of the situation. I was blown away by the kindness extended by the practitioners (especially the speech and O/T). I was blown away by the kindness of the secretaries and the principal but still I sit her after putting her to bed worried.

Six year ago, school looked different. It took place in my home and at my table. My first day we made peanut butter play doh. It wasn't one of my stellar moments but there were smiles and I knew they were safe.

Tomorrow, my not even 3 year old will board a bus for the classroom that teaches "Preschool Children with a Disability". My oldest cringes when she hears it. She continues to tell us that it sounds harsh and unkind. Last night in a group of couple friends we talked about how "disability" is so much softer than words used in previous times but still "disability" sets kids apart. It means they are different and not in the different is good category.

Today as we went to dinner celebrating the end of summer and welcoming a new school year, I watched as I realized how much I have learned in the last four months. I was able to communicate my daughters dietary needs without embarrassment because weeks of suffering should not be had so that one child can eat off a kids menu. I was blown away at how her siblings interacted giving her the necessary toys to keep her occupied on our somewhat long wait. I was also in awe of the server who met the needs I requested. Finally, I took her in. Her beauty. She IS different, but beautiful. Her strawberry hair framing her face and her little pigtail draping over her cheek. Her big blue eyes peering up at me as she reads to "Baby Stella" and her eye contact when I talked to her about the colors she used and the books she read. Seraphina is classified "disabled" but she is in no way the "disabled" that you or I think.

She is unique. She has tantrums that last for hours and can rival any loud mouth but she is who she was meant to be.

Yesterday I went to pick up photos for our middle child. They weren't ready and the clerk who had obvious special needs couldn't help us. As I loaded the four kids I had into the van, my oldest mentioned something that I wouldn't have realized without help. "Mom, you were really patient". She paused and looked at me "Seraphina did that".

Tomorrow I would put my child who is classified as autistic on a bus. She will ride just 2 miles away to the school she has been scheduled to arrive at and fall into the hands of administration, teachers and children I have to trust. She will grow and in learning to know her and meet her, they too will grow.

Tomorrow, I won't say good bye to my little gift, I will share her so others will learn that each individual is a gift, some packages we just have to unwrap a little differently.

As you or your children begin a new year, remind your kids how special EVERY person is. Remind them that differences are to be celebrated not shunned because that is the message I just gave my kids tonight.

Thank you God for the Blessing of autism. It sucks sometimes but I know I will be a better person because of this little girl you allowed me to raise.


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