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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A new chapter--#NaBloPoMo

Standing in our older son's classroom earlier this week, I felt the door close to the previous stage of his life.

It wasn't expecting it. It wasn't on my agenda for the day--or even my agenda for the summer.

He just turned eleven recently. More than nine years of his life has been spent in therapy. He doesn't remember life any other way, and, to be truthful, life another way is a distant memory to me also. And, while I guess he is typically the age where kids transition to middle school, well, he has operated on his own schedule for transitions. I had no reason to view this summer differently from any other.

I marveled at the many years of services that brought us to this point. So many people have come in and out of our lives. So many.

This week in his classroom, I met another, his new summer teacher. No stranger to students his age and older, she was there, I could just tell, to usher him into this next stage of life.

My epiphany started with a simple stick of deodorant.

Our kids were going to learn hygiene skills in her class this summer. Deodorant? On my baby? Wasn't he just a toddler in Early Intervention? But, no. Those years have passed.

Looking at this woman, I suddenly realized that all his teachers leading up to this point, with their red apples, nursery rhymes and sing-song voices were now a thing of the past. Their token systems. Their rewards. Their brightly colored classrooms.

They didn't fit him anymore.

Just yesterday, I was the mother of a nonverbal preschooler. I was little more than a giant walking wound of a person, full of pain and fear of sending this child with so many needs off into the hands of complete strangers.

Today I am the mother of a low verbal preteen. A preteen who now owns deodorant, apparently. Am I still crying? Perhaps on the inside. I don't think that is so abnormal.

What struck me that morning, as strange as it sounds, was the weight of his chronic condition. My sunshining boy. My boy full of laughter. But also my boy who can't talk. I don't know if he ever will. One would think that the weight of this would have hit me already. And, while I think, to an extent, it had, I had never seen it before me so clearly as I had that morning.

In school, he'll be learning how to put on deodorant...and how to brush his teeth. He'll learn life skills, such as folding towels and sorting sewing kits. Where this will take him, I don't know.

Ultimately, what kind of life he will lead is uncertain.

This summer, he will be taking his first steps toward life as one of society's disabled citizens. More than ever, I felt as though we were going to need a lot of help.


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NaPoBloMo July Challenge. Hug your kids. And your parents. Tell everyone that you love them.

7 comments:

  1. Watching your own baby grow physically is one thing. Watching them grow into adult behaviors, whatever that is, is quite another. The hygienic programs for him will, of course, be different than those I remember, but still unnerving. Why? Because they are undeniable. They are signs of a future ADULT. Difficult for any parent, really difficult for you.
    Facing his future has to be very hard, never knowing if or when something will truly turn in his favor, as far as being able to live somewhat comfortably in this unaccepting world must nearly drive one bonkers. IF one allows the mind to even go there. Not sure I could do that at all.
    BUT you have ushered him into this stage with such grace and such a grateful heart for all the help and all the people who have tried to give him something he could use to function with less anxiety and less fear and less discomfort, YOU are the key. THEY are the helpers you use. Trey will be all he can be because you will never settle for any less.

    My amazing and loving and dedicated friend, you will never settle for anything less than ALL there is for him.

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    1. I don't know if I'm crying for the typical transition or the atypical transition. :) Maybe both.

      The deodorant was a big deal in this house. We picked up older son, and younger son promptly asked the aide, "So, how'd the deodorant go?" With that, he lifted brother's arm and smelled his pit.

      Boys are gross.

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    2. LMBO...SERIOUSLY. Yes, they are gross, and very funny!

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    3. *snort* at W.

      I echo Jo on this...

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  2. Amy, your boys are so lucky to have you as their mother. As Jo said, you will not let them grow into anything less than their full potential. I'm sure each new step seems gigantic but you will face them together. I'm sorry that I missed Trey's birthday, whenever it was. I would like to have sent him a card like we did Will. Maybe next year. XOXO

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  3. Oh no! That's right! I forgot that you mentioned wanting to also send him a card. I'm sorry! He typically hates celebrations, including his birthday, which was July 5th. While I prepare with presents, ballons and a cake, I always prepare myself for the fact that he might want me to take it all away. He has for the past many years. I think this is why I neglected to give advanced warning. This year, he had a wonderful day! He took part in everything!! :)

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