School is out, and Summer is officially here!*

Today I want to share a super-exciting thing I did on one of the last days of school. It’s big. It’s wild. It’s something that’s been a goal of mine for five years. Are you ready?

I dropped my son off at school in my pajamas.
Best. Day. Ever.

I know that’s not something most people would say I should be aspiring to. But I have been. I have been waiting for this day with baited breath. It is something I consider a major milestone. Here’s why…

School drop-off has never been an easy thing for my family. My oldest son is on the Autism Spectrum. For years he has struggled with change. He has struggled with transitions from one activity to the next. He has struggled to trust new environments and new people. At one time, he even struggled to wear pants and shoes! All of the above made school time a nightmare.

His first school year was a special Pre-K program for children who need the extra help and adjustment time before entering Kindergarten. We lived just two doors down from the school. That two-door walk down the street, into the school, and into the classroom (which was right by the entrance), took 45 minutes every morning.

First, I had to strap my infant son into a baby carrier on my body. I used to try to strap him in after my oldest was ready, but quickly learned that my son could get undressed at the speed of light, so my best course of action was to get myself and baby brother fully dressed first. I started out wearing baby on my chest, but quickly learned that wasn’t safe, so I had to move him to my back: out of the kicking zone.

Then began the trial of the shoes, the trial of the jacket, and the trial of the cute toddler backpack with a choo-choo train on it.

Then, we would walk. Two steps… three… then we would sit in the dirt and cry and hug and reassure. We would get up and take two steps… three… then repeat the process. By the time we reached the classroom, I would always be carrying one child on my back, and the other in my arms as he wiggled, flailed, and cried body-wrenching sobs. I had to hand that precious vulnerable parcel of a boy into the arms of his teacher, leave the room, and try to get home before my own body-wrenching sobs kicked in.

Why am I doing this? Am I doing the right thing? This is crazy. We can’t keep doing this. I’m doing the right thing, right?

It was hell, Guys. It was hell.

I could never have envisioned then what I did just last week. I could never have guessed that one day, I would drop that same boy off at school in my pajamas.

We drove to his school, and I found the nearest parking spot I could, which was still nearly half a block away from where he needed to be. He got out and put his own backpack over his shoulders. He gave me a sort of half-wave as he walked down the sidewalk toward the opening in the fence. He entered the playground, sat his backpack down in the pile of other school bags by his entrance, then headed for his favorite swing. The playground supervisor and I shared a nod and a little wave as I pulled away.

Still in the car.
Still in my pajamas.
Smiling instead of crying.

I’m sure there are still many more milestones to come, but for today, I can say with all my heart: Best. Day. Ever.

*Fun fact: The school year runs from the beginning of September to the end of June here in Canada, but I know that’s not the case everywhere. Let us know in the comments where you’re from and what your kid’s academic year looks like.

© 2022 Ashley Lilley – First time commenting? Please read my Comment Policy.

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