Monday, September 16, 2013

New Journey

I had a surreal experience the other day. Let me back up and tell you that my son is in public school for the first time ever this year. We finally decided on trying out an autism classroom with him and, so far, it is turning out to be a positive experience. But, back to my original thought, the other day was back-to-school night. I showed up at the school just like all of the other parents. I passed the PTA table, and the spirit wear table where they were selling t-shirts and other items, all in the school colors. I sat in the large auditorium and looked around at the many parents, students, and teachers who were there. My son was at home with his big brother. I sat and listened to the principal give her speech about curriculum, grading, spirit week, etc... I listened to the PTA president talk about new programs that they are supporting in the classrooms this year. I watched and clapped as they introduced each teacher and what grade they would be teaching. My son's classroom had 3 women introduced, 1 teacher and 2 aides. There are only 7 children in his class. I was there, I participated, but, unlike most of the other parents, I went to the special needs classroom at the end of our group time in the auditorium. As I walked through the bustling, loud hallways, I felt like I was in a bit of a daze. My son is so little, so vulnerable, so dependent on others still. And then I walked into the quiet of his classroom and I was greeted by 3 wonderful women with warm smiles at the door who all knew my first name. And, unlike what I pictured was happening in the other classrooms that evening, it was like life slowed down in that instant. As other parents, and some of the children who are my son's classmates, joined us, our conversation turned toward making friends, eating habits, IEP's, and even poop. Yep, that is what you will hear in an autism classroom. Talk about diapers, potty time, and schedules. Talk about food allergies. Talk about routine. Talk about therapies. And in that moment I realized that this is where I was comfortable. This is what I knew. This is what so many years of parenting this special little boy has taught me. That I was meant to be his mommy. And he was meant to be my son. And we will go on this journey together this year.