Within minutes of each other, I had a kindergartener and a fourth grader whisked off to school. And one screaming two year old at the window, desperate to go with them.  – My personal Facebook page status today

I put my son on the van this morning at 7:35am for his very first day of kindergarten.

We took the obligatory pictures in the rain to document this momentous occasion.

I went back inside to post them on Facebook, like everyone else was doing.

And I couldn’t do it.

My son’s first day didn’t look like the other kids’ first day.  There was no walk over to the big yellow school bus, no wave from the window as he drove away.

We were on the van.

Last year, I wrote a post for Hopeful Parents called “The Wheels on the Bus“.  It was my first post about my public acceptance of my son’s diagnosis.  I said “I’ve grown comfortable sharing our story in town and now I am happy to have The Van pull into my driveway.  Just like every other new specialized service we’ve added to my son’s routine, it has only made life better for him and for all of us.”

And all of that is still true.  But today, I felt a little sad.

Years ago, before everything, I promised Howie that he could ride the big yellow bus like his brother.  As time went on, it became clear that he just couldn’t do it.  The sounds, the smells, the noises and the long ride to and from school would just be too much for my little guy.  Putting him on the bus would be setting him up for failure immediately.

So we’re on the van.

I put the memory card away with all the pictures, and focused on having my alone time with Lewis.  As he and I vacuumed together, I had a 180 degree turn.

I’m proud of those photos.  And I have to post them.

He’s on the van with his friends and a driver who loves him.  He’s traveling to school in the way that is not only appropriate for him, but perfect for him.  He’s greeted by his aide when he arrives at school, and sent on his way home the same way.  He is taken care of every step of the way from the moment he steps into that building until he walks in our house. We have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and I’m not going to let some silly notion of what things are “supposed to be” stand in our way of celebrating this day.

This is our normal.  I have one son on the bus and one on the van.  Our first day pictures may look different, but it doesn’t make them any less amazing and important.

So here, for the first time, is my son going to kindergarten.

first day of kindergarten

I am so proud of him.

“The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round
’round and ’round
’round and ’round.
The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round
All through the town.” – The Wheels on the Bus (children’s song)