Easter was the first holiday we experienced without our Abrielle, so it always feels like this holiday stings a little more. It was one week to the day after the accident that the parties were celebrated at school. Mady was not back in school yet and we saw this as a good way to ease her back into it. We (Mom, Virginia, and myself) took Mady to her class party. I had tried to prepare myself mentally for seeing the school and entering it for the first time since Wednesday, March 28, 2007, but I had not prepared myself enough. We arrived at the school early since I still struggled with walking to be able to park closer and to give me enough time to get in the building. My Mom took Mady on ahead to her classroom and Virginia walked with me. As we entered the building, I being tough (or stubborn) chose to take the stairs and not the elevator. That's when we saw the preschool class returning from their egg hunt. I remember stopping dead in my tracks and watching all of Abby's friends walk past, smiling, laughing, swinging their baskets. Most knew who I was from seeing me at parties and bringing Abrielle to school in the mornings. They pointed and smiled saying, "There's Abrielle's Mom." The excitement in their faces as they talked amongst themselves brought me to tears. It was as if they were hoping to see their friend again. I just stood there frozen for the longest time thinking that my little girl should be there too. I should be hiding eggs for her class to find. I should be watching her walking in the line with her friends, swinging her basket.
When we got upstairs to Mady's classroom, her classmates were all gathered around her, welcoming her back and making sure she was alright. They were asking about her bruises and such and I was proud of how well she did. I think she was nervous about how her friends were going to treat her and scared about the questions they would ask. I was so glad to see them hugging her and letting her know they were glad to see her back at school.
I watched from the classroom window (didn't want to do the stairs again) as Mady's class hunted for their eggs and tried hiding my tears. I remember feeling like there was still a heavy fog inside my head, like the nightmare was going to end soon and my little girl was going to be there.