A few weeks ago when Brea saw her transplant team at Duke for her one year post transplant check up we talked about her going to preschool in the fall. I asked around and talked with MANY different preschools before deciding on which school we would visit. I explained to the director that although Brea will be 3 on June 5th she is very tiny, delayed and medically fragile from her transplant and therefore I didn't know if she should be enrolled in a 2 year old class or a 3 year old class. Several of the preschools I talked with said they would not allow her to be in a 2 year old class even if she wasn't ready for the 3 year old class. It was easy to eliminate those schools from our list! The director suggested I bring her in for a tour and an evaluation to see which class she would most benefit from. We went on our tour and for her evaluation on Wednesday. At first Brea was shy and didn't want to talk but after only a few minutes she started answering questions and participating in little games. She knew her shapes, numbers (up to 10) and colors and recognized about half of the alphabet and was able to tell the teacher the sound that those letters make! All this from a little girl that was evaluated to be at a two month old level (developmentally) when she was 18 months old! The teacher thought Brea would do fine in the three year old classroom in the fall AND she felt she was on target developmentally!!! I have to admit...the tears began to fall! I am so proud of Brea and how hard she has worked to learn all that she has. She went from being an 18 month old that was unable to hold her head up to an almost three year old who is ready to go to preschool!!! Praise God!
When it was time for us to go Brea did NOT want to leave. The director told me that they had just had a child in the two year old/two day per week class move away and they had an opening if she wanted to come to preschool now. I agreed to let her try it and today was her first day! She was so excited this morning but when it was time for mommy to leave she got a little concerned. I assurred her that I would be back, kissed her and hugged her and then I stepped out into the hallway out of her sight. She didn't cry! I could hear the teacher telling her that mommy would be back and then I heard the teacher ask her if she liked to read. I stayed for about half an hour just to make sure she was going to be ok and then I ran some errands. The director called me after about an hour to tell me that she was playing and doing fine! When I went to pick her up I was able to look in and watch her play for a few minutes before she saw me. When she did see me she ran to the door with her arms stretched up and she looked as if she were going to cry. When I picked her up she hugged me and said "Mommy back". Her frown quickly turned to smiles and she continued to hug me, kiss me and say "Mommy back" all the way home!
Brooke and Baker are out of school right now (tracked out since they go to year round school) and they were with me when I dropped her off this morning. I can honestly say they took it really hard. They were very hesitant to leave the school and about every five minutes one of them would ask me what I thought Brea was doing at school. I was glad they were with me to distract me and it made me put on a brave face for them. Preschool is only three hours long and two days per week but those three hours seemed like eternity today! I got there about 30 minutes early to pick Brea up since I wanted to talk to the teacher and ask how she did...and I wanted my baby back! I know this is going to be really good for her socially but it is still hard to let her go.
I'll never forget wondering if Brea would ever have a normal life when she was in the hospital waiting for her heart. I was sad about all the things she would miss out on but today she got to do what many other two year olds do...she went to preschool!!! God is good and He has blessed Brea with continued good health which made this day possible. Please pray that she stays healthy and is able to avoid the normal bugs and viruses that go around with little kids. Duke has been great and will be educating the staff at the church preschool about her condition and the precautions that need to be made to insure that Brea stays as healthy as possible but my faith remains in God for her protection!
Here are a couple of pictures from this morning when we were on our way to preschool for the very first time! Enjoy!!!