Monday morning, the postman left a letter in our little mail slot – “Hi, Maura’s been accepted to the special school, she can start whenever you’d like!”
But wait – that sounds too easy and this is my life we’re talking about. Easy doesn’t come naturally. There’s usually a catch. Our catch? They’re still working on busing. So I have to commute her myself if I wanted her to start asap. No problem, thanks to the Luas train! The other catch is that since Maura has a medication they’re not trained to use, I stay close by in the area just on the million in one chance she has a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes (which, knock on wood, has never happened.)
Both these issues will resolve themselves in a couple weeks, so until then, I commute the princess to and from school. I have to. For three months the child has been putting on her backpack, stealing her sister’s uniform pieces to wear and asking to go to class. Not to mention, the school year ends June 30th – if we don’t start her now, she’ll never get to go this semester!
The happiness the girl shows me at the end of the school day has been worth it. Even though the commute can get interesting. Imagine, a crowded train that just gets more crowded as it goes on. We’re heading towards City Centre, so it doesn’t get less crowded. The first two mornings, I did get Maura a seat (one nice young man gave his seat up for her Thursday morning), but the problem with sitting down is that you’re too far from the doors. And so you have to tunnel your way through the sea of bodies at your stop. Oh, people were nice about it all, but still. I have about thirty seconds to get myself and Maura off the Luas at the stop or else.
So Friday, I decided we’d just stand by the doors. Maura was fine. She was in the corner, nice and safe. Me? I ended up with some guy in a suit who kept leaning into me. sigh. But we were able to get off a lot easier.
Once off the train, we walk through this cute little neighborhood, where dozens of parents are herding children in green sweaters and navy bottoms to a school in the area. I’m still fascinated by this – kids on scooters, mums with strollers with little boogie boards off the back for the preschooler to stand on. Parents with kids on bikes, on their bikes, even one on a motorcycle. Then we turn a corner and we’re no longer with the school crowd, but with the commuting to work crowd. Half of them are on bicycles, so you can have five of them on the street, zipping by, with or without helmets, men in sweaters with backpacks, women in skirts with their bag in the wicker bike basket. It’s one of those moments where you realize you are so not in America anymore.
Maura’s school is actually in an old Victorian house on a quiet street with another school and other homes. The principal is looking for something more handicapped friendly, but for now, this has to do. They do make it work, and there are additions and a huge new playground. Maura’s classroom is in a newer addition, so it looks like a classroom, not just a converted room. Maura’s teacher and the two classroom aides are three young blonde women who are all absolutely amazed how easily Maura slid into the routine and class.
While Maura’s having tons of fun at school, I’ve taken my little netbook down to the local coffee shop, where I’ve been working on the story I started in November for NaNoWriMo. Maybe, just maybe, I can get this thing finished. And then maybe someone will decide it’s good enough to publish. And then they can put a plaque on the wall of our house here with “Phoebe Holmes wrote her first published novel here”. Because they do that in Dublin. They put plaques on the walls of writer’s homes, or hotels, or hang outs.