Despite my strong penchant for telling stories in accurate chronological order, I’m going to have to start with most current events first – while they’re still fresh! Otherwise I am just going to get eternally backlogged and there will be no hope whatsoever.
Today was a big day. Not just because it’s November 1st and the start of Viva la Mustache Movember (#Nikolikes!) But because it was Niko’s first day of preschool!!! The stars lined up so perfectly – at the end of last week we were talking about how he needs something to get his wiggles out, I started looking online – and figured I’d email this program just in case – even though there is apparently an early August morning hour and a half wait-line just to sign up and maybe get on the waitlist! And there was one spot left!!!!! And – that’s that!
We’ve been telling Niko for a while about school. And he’s seen it a lot in cartoons, and movies and books. We’ve played “school” at home since even before he got sick.. But he knows – he is going to start school when he is 5, and he kept repeating this to me in a confused manner – all weekend when I would say that he’s going to school this week. So – this is a special surprise-treat school! He was still a little skeptical. And on Monday – when we were going to drop by with the paperwork – he said he didn’t want to go to school. I told him we were just looking, so – he agreed.
I have to mention – over the last few months Niko has developed a real thirst for friendship. For example he still remembers a boy he met at a party 3 weeks ago. He doesn’t remember his name, but he remembers he had the “no ghosts” (aka Ghostbusters ;) shirt and they had a lot of fun. So – he had been asking me if this friend or that friend will be at his school too.. =) Sweet boy. Potential friends were a big selling point I ran with as well.
We walked in to this gorgeous building and I think all 3 of us (Luka was with us) were immediately smitten! Niko and Luka were running around and bouncing off the walls – all that excitement turning into pure energy. We went to see the playground and the classroom and Niko didn’t want to leave.
This morning Niko put his backpack on at breakfast and wore it around for the rest of the morning =))) And kept telling/asking me – it’s time for us to take him to school!
When we walked him into the classroom and it was time for us to get out – I did see a little sadness in his eyes – because he wanted us to sit next to him and share in this experience. But I reminded him that we’ll be back in 3 hours to pick him up and he can tell us all about it!
And after – the way his face lit up when he saw me – and ran to me yelling – I HAD A FUN DAY AT SCHOOL!!!! – that was amazing!!!!!! And the entire ride home he kept saying – Mom. You know. I love my school. You know, it’s kind of cool. It’s like kind of amazing. .. My school is like so cool!
This is a tiny step for mankind. But – I don’t have to tell you what a big big step it is for us!! A year and a half after our diagnosis. When I had no idea what the future held… And here we are! It means so much for me to share this with you – because I know that you care – and thank you so much for that!
It’s tricky because – even though he doesn’t know it – he is different from the other kids. And – I catch myself really not wanting to tell his story to parents of his peers – I know the fear that it brings. But I know how people tend to fill in the gaps and I don’t want there to be confusion. Plus – it’s not right for the topic of childhood cancer to be hidden, especially by me.. But what kind of a way is that to meet fellow parents? -Hi, I’m Niko’s mom. and he’s had cancer… =\ At the same time – it’s basically the only thing I’ve talked to anyone about over the past year and a half, only meeting new people at “cancer events” where we would swap stories and just share “the feels”. So I don’t really know what to even talk about – because I’m the new person in the class of parents too! I never really liked being the new kid!
On a much more positive note – major friend prospect – at pick up a boy (with Marvel characters on his shirt) was telling his mom about the new boy and how they had fun (and Niko wore his Pixar movies shirt today). Now that’s a wonderful beginning, eh? ;)