Today is picture day. You'll feel the full weight of that statement after reading how picture day went last year:
Today is different. I was not there. I don't know whether a mantel-worthy photo was achieved or not.
But to my own surprise, it is of little concern to me. Grandma can put a print out of an email I got yesterday from Addie's kindergarten teacher on her mantel. The email tells me, Addie's mom, how excited the teacher is that Addie will soon be using her new communication device at school. It goes on to say how well Addie is taking to the classroom routines and listening/following instructions. Her teacher says she really enjoys having her in class and that her loving demeanor is an asset. And would I like to come and introduce Addie's new device to her classmates on Monday. This did not come from a special ed teacher or one of Addie's aides. It came from the energetic K4 classroom teacher responsible for the first school experience of about 40 kids (morning and afternoon class) of all abilities each year. (I had already been hearing things from the special ed staff that little by little have unscrunched my shoulders, unfurrowed my brows, curled up the corners of my pie hole and deep-fried my heart.)
Mrs. K's email is a picture itself. It sharpens the edges of the hunch that's been coming in to focus day by day since Sept 2nd after a summer of fretting about whether we'd made the right decisions about school. The final image - Addie is in a place where she is respected, where there are high expectations of her, where she is heard, where her dignity will be as cared for as well as the rest of her, where her differences can be celebrated, where she will grow and help others grow. It's hard to find places like that for my girl. And to know she'll be spending this entire year with people who see her power, strength, beauty nearly as clearly as we do. Well. That picture snapped today by the photographer could be the most off center thing, one eye closed, only the bottom teeth showing, finger lodged in a nostril.... It'll be in my wallet, on my mantel, set as wallpaper, without a doubt.
Despite, or because of, last year's unfortunate outcome on picture day, it was a unanimous family decision to put Addie in the exact same lovely dress as last year.