It tugs on my heart. Something so ordinary to most is to me so much more than an expectation. Flashbacks flit past my mind’s eye, tickle my heart memory. My eyes flood.
Tomorrow Samuel will become a sophomore in high school.
My baby will no longer be in the group of the youngest kids on campus. He has morphed into a certain expertise in many things about North High School. He feels welcomed there, he has developed friendships, has goals and desires and has managed to weave his way through wobbly moments without me by his side with a cold compress for his forehead or an evil eye to lob at kids or adults who dare be in the least bit unkind to him.
Samuel is on the autistic spectrum. He has autism. He has been labeled in a variety of ways – Asperger’s, High Functioning Autism and has the occasional ADHD thrown in. I see him as Samuel, the other titles don’t enter into my psyche as much as “make sure he gets an education that suits him and provides him the experiences and knowledge he needs to reach his goals.”
Last year at eighth grade graduation, he was among the first to get his diploma. He was with the group of kids with autism, even though he had achieved high rankings in the “non-autism” world at school.
This year he advocated to no longer attend a class with only spectrum kids. He bucked the system and did so effectively. His Spanish teacher called to tell me he wished his class was “filled with kids like Samuel.”
I was so stunned I didn’t have time to get emotional.
He invited friends to his birthday party. He actually called other kids “friends”. They were a huddled group of nerds, boys I probably would’ve liked when I was in high school: awkward, charming, slightly nervous.
Next year he is adding sports to his list of “to-do’s” without my encouragement. He has made choices on his own and actually got recruited to do other sports.
I wish someone had been bold enough to tell me this day was possible, that it wouldn’t always feel like one trudge uphill both ways in the snow, I wish someone would have been bold enough to tell me it wouldn’t be one compromise after defeat after compromise after defeat after compromise.
I wish someone had been bold enough to tell me the tears would someday be from joy back in when I cried for 168 days straight.
I wish someone had been bold enough to tell me.
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Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in early Summer and beyond.
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735
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