Last week we went to an Open House at Bridget’s school. It was the first Open House that I’ve been to since the disastrous kindergarten play date. I didn’t want to go, but since first grade was so incredible I wanted to make sure Bridget’s second grade is as successful. We entered the school lobby, tried to explain to Bridget why she did not have her backpack and took a deep breath anticipating the sure-to-be-awful-night.
Except the House was Open and Inviting.
We entered the school and asked Bridget to take us to her classroom. I expected her to take us to the SPED room. But she exclaimed, THIS WAY! And led us to the stairs. Up we went as she told us this is the way “C” and her walk to school. As we came to a T in the hallway, I expected her to hesitate. Bridget never broke her stride. Until she suddenly stopped.
I thought in confusion.
I was wrong.
“Look, my locker!”, she informed me, “This is where I put my coat”. (She has a locker, people!).
We ventured further down the hall. Friends greeting her, “Hi Bridget!” and she waving to them with a smile on her face. Entering the classroom, Bridget pointed to her teacher: “Mrs. S this is MOM!”. She did the scavenger hunt all her friends were doing, showing me where she put her lunch box, her work, where her desk was and (most importantly) where her friends sit. Bridget interacted with her peers, maybe not on their level. But they interacted with her on her level. This is just as important. That her peers meet Bridget where she is and accepted her as a part of their classroom. It was obvious they were not tolerating Bridget. They enjoyed her as their friend.
We left the classroom, I expected that we were also leaving the school. Once again I was wrong.
Bridget took us to “Keyes” room, we went to Art and was told that the markers are “here”. Then we went to Speech (“where’s Liz?”), back to her first grade teacher to say hi to Mrs. P and on and on we went. This is where I climb the rock wall (gym), this is library, I get books here and (my personal favorite) the CAFETERIA said in bold caps! This is where I eat with my friends!
Friends, indeed. Rather than Bridget introducing us, her friends introduced themselves. Mom, this is my friend Bridget, they would say. Just before Bridget gave the a hug and repeated “my friend (insert name here)”. My heart two sizes too big, I was amazed (again) at how accepting these 2nd graders were, not just accepting because you have to be nice to a kid in your class. No, these children truly look at Bridget as their friend. I know that will not always be true, as the years pass and she can no longer keep up with their progress. Yet today, this open house was truly open.
I could barely keep up with her. Until, that is, she saw Mr. D. DDDDDDD!!!!!! She exclaimed as she ran in for a hug. The VP told me that whenever he is feeling down, all he has to do is seek Bridget in the hallway. That he was going to miss her next year when she transitioned to the next adventure.
The next adventure….
I hope I can keep up with her.