The Preemie Goes to Preschool {and other things I never thought I’d say}

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Just look at those eyelashes. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

For my new(er) readers you may not know the whole Luke story. The long and short of it? He got a scary diagnosis in utero, was born early, got a nasty intestinal infection, coded, was resuscitated, underwent emergency surgery, had a 44-day NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) stay, visited 12 specialists, had six more surgeries, endured hundreds more hours of therapy and amazed every single person in the process.

I also cried one million tears and drank about that much in Dos Equis.

Luke is our proof that God is merciful. And amazing.

You can start from the beginning of Luke’s story, or jump on the train during his epiphany-like spine surgery or perhaps you want to catch the tail end of his brain surgery. Wherever you start the story, I hope he leaves you believing in miracles no matter what faith (or not) you practice.

Two weeks ago Luke started preschool. Five years ago, I wasn’t sure I would ever say that. Hell, we weren’t even sure he was going to live through the night.

“He just loves being here,” his teacher told me earlier this week. “He plays with everyone and has a constant smile.” Oh Luke, you’ve lived one million lives. Of course you’re smiling, because while the other kids are crying because this is their first foray into the unknown, it’s where you’ve lived your entire life.

The unknown. Unknown diagnoses. Unknown surgeries. Unknown futures.

We made the switch this year to a new school for Luke, primarily because of teachers. One teacher, actually. I don’t believe in coincidence. The teacher that rocked Will’s world (our oldest), the one we heralded as one of his very best, just so happened to be teaching PK4 at the parish down the road. And they had one opening left.

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Praise Jesus.

So, here we are. At preschool.

Scott and I dropped him off for his first day and I could feel the tears starting to form. I wanted to tell everyone, “These tears? I don’t think they mean what you think they mean.” I wasn’t crying because I was sad to leave him (of course I would miss him!) or because I was worried he wouldn’t have the time of his life (I knew he would). Nope, I cried because this day wasn’t supposed to happen.

Luke wasn’t supposed to make it to 24 weeks gestation, to birth, to the next morning, to two weeks, to one year. To todayBut he did.

He happily let go of my hand in that preschool hallway and bound into his classroom. He fist bumped his teacher, said “hey” to some new friends, hugged my neck, high-fived his dad, kissed his sister and belted out, “See you afta wunch Mom!”

And I soaked in that moment. Cherished it. And then I caught the eye of his teacher. She knew.

“He’s gonna be okay momma. You prayed him here.”

I told him to make good choices and took one last glance into that classroom, watched him write his name, smile at his friends and wave at me with the biggest grin this side of Dallas.

We made it. We did it.

Luke has arrived.

He might be the smallest kid in there at 25 pounds dripping wet, but no kid has a bigger fight than our sweet Luke. Tear it up, buddy.

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  1. Beth (A Mom's Life) on September 11, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Congratulations Luke on hitting another major milestone! Look at that big smile on his face!

  2. Gina on September 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

    You just made me cry, Kathryn! Luke is a true testament that GOD IS GREAT! Hugs!

  3. Amy on September 11, 2014 at 8:28 am

    This brought tears to my eyes and put a smile on my face…way to go, Luke!

  4. Rozella on September 11, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Congratulations to Luke! And, Kathryn, those tears of happiness won’t stop flowing. For example, last Thursday evening when my dear friend who was with me on the day I had John, as well as that evening. It happened at the football game, when my tears started flowing as we watched him marching/dancing and playing his clarinet, (all at the same time) during his high school football half time show! She KNEW why the tears were flowing. God IS good!

  5. Cathy on September 11, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Brought tears to my eyes! “You prayed him here.” What an awesome way to put it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lynn A. on September 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Way to go Luke! Enjoy PK4!

  7. Nicole on September 11, 2014 at 8:48 am

    You must be so proud, excited, amazed, overjoyed, and HAPPY! Those tears are earned. Good job, Tear it up in pre-school, Luke!

  8. Robin Schmidt on September 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Oh Kathryn! I will say it once again, I love the way you love God and love your family!! It is such a blessing to come to your blog. You radiate the strength of the Lord in all you write and make me want to be a better Christian. Thank you for your joy, it is infectious!!

  9. Verdina on September 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

    What Robin said! What an amazing adventure! God is so awesome! Your faith is what makes the adventure so amazing!
    God bless you!

  10. Jaime on September 11, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    These happy tears are for you Kathryn! I can only imagine the challenges you’ve endured and the triumph it is to see Luke start preschool. Just think of how wonderful it will be when he graduates high school….college. You remind me that God is so great, and to be thankful for all that He’s given me.

  11. Audrey on September 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Wish this post had a big ol’ “Like” button! Congratulations to all of you.

  12. Lisa on September 13, 2014 at 9:37 am

    So sweet. It seems just a moment ago that we were all praying for him to just make it through the night. Congrats!

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