Noah first met his occupational therapist at summer camp. He was three-and-a-half years old and had already developed a fierce dislike of school (and any school-like activities) and a deep distrust of teachers (and any teacher-like adults). But for some reason, Ms. M___ was different. He liked her. He liked her a lot.
For over three years now, she's worked with him. First, almost daily, at preschool, then weekly. She was his anchor, the thing he looked the most forward to all week, the one person who could always — ALWAYS — coax the most and the best from him. Balance, coordination, motor planning, social skills, play skills, handwriting, attention span, self-regulation. She's encouraged him, pushed him and challenged him. But most of all she's believed in him, and loved him. Genuinely, unconditionally.
She's the first person to hear about Noah's victories and breakthroughs, big or small. She is one of his biggest cheerleaders.
She's also the first person I talk to when I'm having a rough time, or need ideas or strategies or some empathy from someone who gets it. Or maybe just to geek out about The Hunger Games. She's kind of been my cheerleader, too.
Yesterday she told me that she's moving on. She's resigned. She's accepted a new job somewhere else, and the countdown to Noah's final session has begun.
We both cried. She cried the hardest.
I haven't told Noah yet. God. That's going to suck.
The good news is that I know Ms. M___ and I are going be awesome friends now, and that she's not really going anywhere. Except maybe to our house, and my couch, since we'll allowed to hang out and drink wine and play with Noah in the backyard.
And you know? It's time. It really is. Noah's doing great. Beyond great, really. And other kids deserve to be great now too. I wish I could tell those kids and their families that man, you guys, you're so lucky.
You're about to meet the person who is going to change your life.