School started a week ago, but it seems more like a lifetime. My third grader is blossoming, and Rachel’s special needs classroom is a good environment. There isn’t much on the walls, so it’s not over-stimulating. It’s a big room with clearly designated play areas. There is even a connected bathroom. But I still feel depressed when I leave her there.

Yesterday I watched the children for a moment before I left. One flailed arms and made nonsense noises. A second pressed her head into pillows and rocked back and forth. Another made hooting noises and spun in circles. Rachel shook a toy in each hand and beeped her alarm clock imitation. Though engaged in different activities, they all could have been a snapshot of the same child. I wanted to cry. Interesting how being around other special needs children highlights Rachel’s disability …

Yet, as in all things, there was a bright side. One of the other moms in the room said something to me. I could tell she understood the issues I faced — because she did, too. I think we will become good friends. Again, beauty comes from what I often see as ashes.