This morning I took Tatie down to the playground at the end of our street. We are 4 houses from the end, so it's really close and a main reason why we bought the house. When my girls were younger and home with me all day, sometimes I'd take them there twice a day...and there's even another playground across the street from that one! We are really fortunate. But until just a month ago, the one playground was really in need of an overhaul. Rotting wooden playset, overgrown trees, tons of sticks on the ground. Well, they put in an amazing new playset and really cleaned it up - we love it!! Other neighborhood kids have been playing there a lot more since the overhaul, and it's been great for Taylor's socialization.
Well, today she was playing so well with the other kids I actually called the school and told them I didn't need her bus to pick her up and I would drive her, which bought her 15 more minutes to play. Tomorrow is her preschool graduation and if you know me, you know I've been....contemplative. A bit sad. But mostly, very, very proud. Taylor has come so far in her 2 years with Miss Cheryl and "team Taylor" over at our district special ed pre-k. They have loved her, taught her, encouraged her, validated her, strengthened her. They did all those same things for me, too.
Seeing Taylor play appropriately with another child brings such joy to my heart, I can not explain. When she started at Rice (her school) I remember going to a CST meeting, and upon walking up to the school I saw a class file in from recess. They were probably 1st grade. All the kids were talking and laughing...all but one. There was a girl lagging behind, all by herself. I tear up just thinking about it!! Oh I wanted to run over and hug her, take her to Friendlies and love on her. I wanted to buy her a toy. I wanted to see her smile...and I wanted to tell the other children, "don't you see her? Why aren't you friends with her?" And then, as I walked and ached...I thought of my Taylor and I almost fell over. Would that be her?! Oh please God no. Please God, let her be NORMAL and let her have friends. At that point in her young life - 3 yrs old - I chose her "friends" for her. Playdates with church and MOPS friends. Friends whose moms knew about Taylor, and would gently encourage their children to include her...and honestly, a lot of times she didn't want to be included. "I play by myself, no you." Playdates used to be so stressful - for her and me. Bailey LOVED going to other people's houses, or having them to ours. Taylor hated it. If they were here, why are they touching all my stuff?!!! Share?! Are you nuts?! Why is it so loud? Why is your baby crying...make it stop. If we were there, she would just cling to me, I called her my koala baby. I was tired, she was tired...I felt beaten down, and she probably felt confused, pissed off, and sad.
But look at her now. Look at her now!!! Look at me now. We're not done - works in progress. Next year will be a big transition, for both of us, but we'll do it. She is so strong, my little girl. Strong and brave. She is teaching me, every day, how to take on the world.
It is my pleasure watching my daughters grow. What an honor. The privilege of my life. I am one proud mama.