We walk to the school, full of virus and tiredness and the drudgery of another day with kids and the cost of a day off.
But the sun shines, and the morning is clear.
Our first parent teacher conference. 10 minutes of a life, to hear of how the last 5 years of our life have impacted Vivian, how our hard work has turned out.
Inside, I remember my first elementary school, how tall it all seemed at first, until my last year there, when it all seemed rather short, the colors muting on the walls, the work becoming work, the teachers more stern and less loving. The pegs, the shoes, the alphabets and books and sheer joy of learning plastered on the walls-why does it stop? Why do we lose that love so early?
We sit on tiny chairs, touch the tiny tables we never see her use, see her touch everywhere, her drawings, her glued masterpieces, parts of her life we don’t share-the beginning of the drawing away that I’m becoming accustomed to, but yet not, my body feeling the disconnect still after 5 years of closeness. she has always been here, always been with me, been mine. Now-now she thrives on her own, without me, almost in spite of me.
It’s a delicious and terrifying experience, all at once.
She sits with us, timidly, with nothing but good things to say. She begins, telling us how wonderfully intelligent she is, how curious and STRONG she is. She stumbles, looking for a word, but settles almost helplessly on “She’s …special-she’s just special.”
We’ve thought this all along. In our arms, a few weeks old, grinning like a fool at us, tiny and fragile. Examining in close details the beetles in the backyard a little over a year old. Talking to her newborn baby sister at 19 months, nose pressed in close to greet her. 3 years old and explaining to me what each dinosaur does. 4 and running free in the field beside us, watching the world, pulling at the ripe raspberries in her hands.
We all believe our children to be special, to have that certain slant of magic that will make them someone. I’m always ready to accept that my daughters will be nothing more than their normal, average selves. But Vivian-she makes me believe she will be so much more-that she holds the key to something extraordinary-new worlds, new flesh. She makes me believe that she is special-more than I ever believed myself to be. She makes me believe that people can fix the mistakes of others, that things shattered can be healed.
She makes me believe, and nothing can be more awesome than that.
It makes you puff up a little, when the teacher says your kid is nothing like any of the others, and not in a Dennis the Menace kind of way. You look at each other and say “DAMN! We’re doing something right!” and you don’t worry so much about her watching “THEM!” in the afternoon while you write a blog post or coloring in a coloring book or eating chicken nuggets for the 5th day in a row. You look at the huge mess of books in their room and the playroom and shrug, because it matters only in the best of ways. She’s smart-she’s whip smart and vivacious and warm and giving and loving and fucking amazing.
And we’ve done this, created and nurtured this.
We done good.