Rolf’s last post about “managing our expectations and emotions” accurately describes the emotional valleys we encounter as we continue to live “in limbo” alongside Rudy. Although we struggle with Rudy’s uncertain future, there is comfort in watching Rudy enjoy life to the fullest…I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that he is “blissfully unaware” of the battle he is in but he certainly doesn’t know any different and there is very little that steals his joy and smile.
Today was another perfect example of how heartache and deep, deep joy coexist in this crazy journey. After months of discussion and planning, Rudy had his first day of Kindergarten at our neighborhood school today! His modified schedule includes Mondays at La Patera and Tuesdays through Fridays at his current special ed school where he will continue to work on specific goals and receive special services. Knowing that this year was going to be a bit of a transitional year for Rudy as he moved from a county program to our local school district a full year before his formal Kindergarten placement, I requested that he have an opportunity to attend our neighborhood school where he and Olivia could have a shared educational experience and where he would have a chance to interact with neighborhood friends (i.e. gal pal Stella). Rudy will likely go to another Goleta school next year with an established special ed Kindergarten program and because Olivia will be headed off to Junior High next year, this is their only chance to go to school “together”. Needless to say, we’re all so thrilled that the district and LP community were willing to work with us, see the mutual benefits for all involved and welcome Rudy into the classroom mid-year!!!
Everything about today was precious. The day started when we pulled up to the school and Rudy said “Bye, I-ya (Olivia), see ‘ya” to which Olivia replied “Rudy, you’re coming too!”. The minute we got out of the car and headed to the Kindergarten playground, Rudy’s excitement was undeniable…he was quickly surrounded by classmates who were told last week that he would be coming and he bonded with some of the kids over basketball. We are overjoyed that Rudy’s school nurse, Nurse Sara, is able to accompany him at both schools…her support and the continuity of care that she can provide no matter their location is crucial and such an amazing gift.
In response to a letter (see below) the school sent home about Rudy last week, one of the little boys in Rudy’s class walked right up to me and said with a proud smile “My mom told me to be nice to Rudy.” (Ha, ha – Classic) The kids circled up and when Rudy’s new teacher introduced him to the class, Rudy waved enthusiastically as if on cue. To see him so warmly welcomed by the students and staff at La Patera was, well, magical…
When Rolf and I arrived to pick Rudy up, big sis was helping in his classroom during her lunch break and Rudy was playing on the computer with friends. We had a hard time tearing him away and it all clearly made a big impression because the first thing Rudy said to us was “Dad, Mom! Neat game!!”. Nurse Sara and Mrs. Farrington confirmed that Rudy had a great first day filled with smooth transitions between activities, positive interactions with the other children and a happy demeanor…a happy heart! As a result, our breaking hearts are happy too…a curious combination.