Bette began school this week. Speech school. It is technically called “camp” but it is really school. And she will attend five days a week.
For months, I have been waiting for this week to arrive, knowing that she needed the instruction and stimulation school provides. But now that it is here, I am sad.
I am sad that at two years old Bette will be in school for the rest of her life. I hate it that we won’t be able to ease her into school, only going a couple of days a week at first, working up to more as the years pass like all other preschoolers. Instead, because she is behind in language development and needs as much instruction as possible to get caught up, she will go to school almost every day.
We are only a few days in and already I miss her sleeping in. I miss her waking up late. I miss having the option of us girls spending mornings at home together, lounging around in our PJs. Even though mornings are not Bette’s best time of day and being stuck at home can sometimes drive me crazy.
It is a small thing – enjoying mornings at home with your children – but it feels like one more item on the list of things we have surrendered to Bette’s deafness. Things we cannot do, won’t do, or would be absolutely insane to try with a deaf child.
Bette cried, howled really, when I dropped her off at school the first day. She was almost kicking and screaming as the teacher pulled her out of the car. Thankfully, it was Ms. Bitsy, who knows Bette and didn’t take it personally.
And when I picked her up at the end of the day, she was a completely different child. She was happy and bright and looked like she just experienced something wonderful.
I know her going to school so much at such a young age is what is best for her. I know it is what she needs. And so I keep reminding myself that what we are doing is trading. We are trading our time at home together, as well as all the money for her tuition and therapy, and numerous other things, for something better. We are trading it all so Bette can learn to hear and speak and communicate like a regular hearing person.
But it is not an even trade. We are in fact trading up.
We are trading up, despite all the things we must let go of. We are trading up, despite how difficult doing so can be at times. And we are trading up, because we are getting something that is much more valuable and of much greater worth than all the things we are surrendering for it combined, and that is for Bette to lead an almost completely normal life one day.