The first baby I knew that was the same age as Max, was my nephew. I held him for the first time when I had just made it past the first trimester with Max. Holding him helped me hope again that my baby would make it this time. He and Max shared their first Christmas together, and I remember thinking how different he was than Max. So much stronger, and doing so much more, yet just months apart.
As the years have gone on, I've watched him, and other kids the same age as Max and thought how very different they are. These other kids, they were like a different species of child. Although they held the same birth-year as Max, they were on such different levels. Sometimes it's been hard to acknowledge, and accept, that Max isn't able to do the things kids his age are able to do. Sometimes I've dismissed it and reconciled he's never going to be like them, he's just Max.
It struck me tonight, how today was the first time in his life I've ever seen him as the "same" as the other kids his age. I don't know exactly what did it, but, today my second grader started school with the rest of his class. And something clicked in my head. He's the same as the rest of them. On the same level. The one thing that connects them all is they are all starting second grade today.
Since the school hasn't gotten the camera and computer all set up to do Skype School for Max yet, we thought it was a good idea to bring Max in on the first day of school to see his classmates, teacher, and the school before the germs started sticking to surfaces.
Max was beyond excited to go. He was awake every hour or so through the night. This morning, he was going in between giddiness and exhaustion from being up all night. As we got to the school, he was so ready to see his friends, and meet new friends!
He was decked out in his yellow!
His principal, counselor, teachers, and staff all stopped in the halls to welcome Max back to school.
When Max got into his classroom, he was ready to tell them all about EVERYTHING! He talked, and laughed...
And even paid attention when his teacher was talking...
The kids had such great questions about Max.
How does Max go to bed?
How does he eat?
How does his computer work to help him talk? - mmm I still don't understand- how can he read it if he can't see it?
Does Max dress himself?
Does have eye problems like me?
Has Max lost any teeth?
How many teeth has he lost?
Are you going to give Max his name tag and birthday card to put on the birthday graph?
Can Max come back for our pumpkin run? My shirt says zombie crossing!
Why does Max get so sick from germs?
I kind of have the sniffles, but I'm not sniffing right now.
Can Max have ---'s birthday snack too?
Why does he move so much?
Does he move when he's sleeping?
Does he wear glasses when he sleeps?
One little guy asked me if Max had the hiccups, which he did have. I told him yes, he has the hiccups, and he said, we should scare him!
They thought the same things were funny that Max thinks are funny. They understood needing help getting dressed when your muscles feel tired. They understood that Max doesn't have really strong muscles to chew his food a lot of times, so he needs to eat through the straw in his belly. He's lost more teeth than some, and less than others. They understood that he moves so much because he can't run around on the playground like they can, and he really wants to be running! He sleeps in a bed just like they do. He has a favorite color like they have. He likes jokes, and he likes school. Same-same.
We wrapped our time up with the class, letting them know that Max LOVES getting letters from them. And we would try to see them a couple of times before people were getting lots of colds in school. And we would be talking on the computer every day.
As we were leaving, I saw a familiar face hurrying out across the parking lot to us. Max's first grade teacher, making sure she got to say hello before we left.
She got caught up with Max, and wished him a good school year, as a 2nd grader. Wow......second grade. Same-same.
(Thanks to my sister for helping me get Max to school today, taking photos and recording all the fantastic questions the class asked!)