Autism

The Blessing of This Year

Last year at this time, I could not wait for school to end. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year (with a few good days and a few really good staff thrown in the mix). But mostly, one of those years you just can’t wait to be done with. When the school year ended, we had a pizza party and celebrated – even though it wasn’t the best experience. We weren’t celebrating success so much as we were celebrating survival. Even though it sucked, it was finally over and we couldn’t have been happier. We welcomed the summer months with open arms.
This year is a different. It’s like we went from one extreme to the other. Last year, we couldn’t wait for it to be done and we were counting down the days and hours when we could walk out the school doors and not be back until the fall. But this year, with only about an hour left to pick up my boys for the last time, I have the opposite feeling. I’m sad.
Sad because it’s been awesome. Sad because the entire year has gone off without a hitch. Sure, we had a few bumps along the way. But overall, oh, heaven. I have never had a school year end on such a good note. That ridiculous song from The Lego Movie is running through my head right now. “Everything is Awesome! Everything is awesome when you’re part of a team!” I really do feel like we have been part of the team. And really, that is how it should be.
Don’t get me wrong – we have had some amazing teachers and resource involved in the past. I have been so blessed by them and so glad we have had those experiences. But this year, oh this year just raised the bar to a whole new level.
Autism parents, can you imagine a team meeting with no stress? With laughter, even? Before this year, I couldn’t. But this year…oh, this year! Every single meeting was easy. I put out my ideas and opinions and they rolled with them. They treated me like a colleague and not just the student’s parent. That’s how it should be, right? After all, they’re my babies we are talking about.
The teacher lottery – we totally won on so many levels. You never know what you will be facing when you start off in September. I mean, all teachers are awesome because their job can not be easy. The idea of facing a classroom full of children every morning terrifies me. I couldn’t do it! I don’t think I have the patience at all. They’re amazing, they’re superheroes! But this year, oh this year….the teachers loved my children and connected with them. They cared. I know all teachers care, but these ones put aside the papers that listed all the things that are “wrong” with them and loved them for who they are and what they have to offer.
I know my children are ready for the break – they’ve worked very hard this year and have had so many successes and gains it’s mind blowing. To see someone struggle so much with every subject rise up and actually learn on the level he is supposed to be learning is such a gift. To see someone who has particular interests that might not fit the norm applauded and encouraged is such a gift.
So we will enjoy this summer like a gift that is received because of a huge accomplishment. Like a graduation. Or a promotion. We’ll do our summer bucket list from top to bottom and we’ll enjoy every second of it – so that when the cooler weather starts to set in, and September comes we will be ready.
Ready for a new year, with new teachers and new experiences. I will try not to stress about the mandatory intensive french that Aiden is facing, even though it’s intimidating to me. I don’t even need to stress, because his french teacher this year helped him go from saying, “I hate french! I am not going to french class!” to “My french teacher is awesome and french is my favourite. Bonjour! Au revoir!” And his french grades are awesome! I will try not to stress about my Micah leaving the K-2 group and joining the 3-5 group on the big side of the playground. He’s ready. He’s excited.
I can’t be happier than I am right now with how this year has been. I can’t thank the teachers enough. We’ve had nine amazing teachers and support staff working with our children this year and every single one had something awesome to bring to the table. Some of them will be part of our team next year, and some of them won’t. It’s going to be bittersweet walking into that school for the last time until September. It’s going to be bittersweet saying goodbye to the teachers who have enriched my chidren’s lives and helped them grow a little more into the men they will become.
Thank you teachers. You deserve the break this summer will bring. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this year, oh this year!

 

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