She was born weighing less than 4 pounds. So fast that the nurse caught her, no cries. I didn’t see her until hours later when we both had been stabilized. I didn’t hold her for another 24 hours and even then it was just for the briefest of moments, after all, anything could make her vitals crash. Our youngest daughter Augustine was born almost 10 weeks early. For 6 days prior the hospital tried everything they could to stop her from arriving, but as we now know; when Augustine is ready to do something, she does it.
A few days into their attempt to stop labor, a doctor from the NICU visited me. He told me that while they were hoping that these words were unnecessary, that if she came, they were ready. That if she came, they had a room, they had a team, and they would do everything in their power to help her grow. That she would be in the best of hands because this is what they did and this is what mattered to them. He then told me of the difficulties that premature babies sometimes face, and how we wouldn’t know for a few years exactly what she might face. That there were brain development steps that might be harder for her, but if that was the case, then they were ready, they would help her grow.
I start school in two days. Every parent that sends their child into our classrooms is hoping we are ready. That we will help their child grow. No matter their start in life, no matter their previous years, no matter their summer. They hope that we have a team that is ready to support, to nurture, and to give whatever is needed for their child to be successful, to be happy, and even to be protected.
So I tell myself that I am ready. That previous years are now in the past and what matters now is the year we have ahead of us. That I cannot determine how that child came to us, but that we can work with the child that arrived. That I will fight for every child. That I will see every child. That I will support every child as they try to reach their goals. That I will support every child even if I am not quite sure of an answer or what help they might need. It is the least I can do.
As I tried to sleep those nights in the hospital, hoping that by morning my labor had stopped, the doctor’s words ran through my head. I knew that if she came early, she would be in the best of hands, and that they would do everything in their power to help her. And they did, and she grew, and after 6 weeks she came home. Now 20 months later and the hospital tells me that she is perfectly average. Perfectly normal. And that she should be just fine. And I know that we are so lucky and I am so thankful. Because they were right; they were ready and so are we. Ready for whichever kids show up this year.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. The 2nd edition and actual book-book (not just e-book!) comes out September 22nd from Routledge.