This year was simultaneously the hardest and the best year we’ve had yet with the kids. We had lots and lots of rough patches when it came to school but we figured it out and the day we did, the year turned into something wonderful. We had great times during those rough patches – family getaways and playing with friends. Fun school outings and lovely get-togethers. Each great period of time has hard times, too, but we have learned that sometimes hard changes are necessary to discover what’s really best for us.
Our school year is over today and here’s what’s happened:
- Alice learned to read! She loves reading and the pride that washes over her face when she finishes a sentence and an entire book is the best.
- Jamie has spent time with an aide at school and has been so busy with different projects. His creativity has been encouraged and he comes home with stories and hilarious crafts he’s made. His time in the classroom is good and we’ve seen great things happening for him.
- Maria has made some really great friends at Asotin and that time of ‘mean girl’ stuff seems to be over thank goodness! She has pointe shoes and in her life, that’s the best thing that could ever happen – EVER.
- Charlotte is gearing up for Kindergarten and is trying to keep up with Alice when it comes to reading and math. She’s pretty good at spelling “play-doh” on Youtube….Lord help us.
- Ollie continues to be the happy sprite.
- Franci has turned into the sassiest sass monster you could ever imagine.
So what have we learned? When things are really hard, that doesn’t mean they weren’t worth it. Our time at the old school was absolutely worth the time spent. We made friends there and so did the kids. They got to do fun activities and their education got a really great start. We learned, too, that change is necessary sometimes to keep kids on that path where they thrive. Jamie was finding it hard to keep his curiosity sparked and his brain busy.. It took lots of sleepless nights and tears until we discovered that maybe changing things up was what we needed to do. We left our comfortable bubble and did it and now we have a new comfortable bubble. Funny how that works sometimes, yeah?
This summer we have huge things planned.
Just kidding. It’ll probably just be full of lemonade stands and slip n slides and swimming and bike rides and escaping the heat with inside TV time. No shame in my game.
Last night was our big awareness event for The Green Apple Project. Faces of Autism was a room full of gorgeous photographs of beautiful faces. The turn out was amazing – over 200 people.
I wanna talk about support. Knowing when someone has put their heart and passion and time and energy into a single event and showing up to show them you recognize that? That’s support.
Knowing a child (or children) who struggle daily and have a hard time on a regular basis but who finally have an opportunity to celebrate that same part of them – the one that can make things hard – as something that also makes them unique and wonderful, and showing up to say to them, “I recognize that beauty, too.”? That’s support.
The room was (literally) overflowing with support. My friends who have busy lives and families who demand their attention took 2 hours on a Wednesday to come show Jamie and me that they support us. Teachers….SO MANY TEACHERS. There were teachers from almost every school in the valley there to see their kiddos so incredibly proud of their giant photos on display. I had teachers ask for a copy of the video to show, teachers who told me they learned something new, teachers who wanted to get involved and who shared stories of how and why autism is such a part of their lives.
Jamie had a hard time and hindsight is 20/20. I can honestly say I didn’t expect him to panic at the sight of the crowd. He refused to go in and had a bit of a melt down over it. He knew lots of people there but he doesn’t have a ton of close friends or people he feels super comfortable with – and there weren’t really any of those. Luckily my mom is one of those people and she sat with him for two hours in the hall while he tried to escape and finally accepted defeat and played the iPod. It was a really good reminder and an eye opener. For being so “high functioning” he was certainly one of the “lowest functioning” autistic children there last night. The labels should probably go.
(Read this: https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/06/26/decoding-the-high-functioning-label/)
But we survived and we’re currently most thankful for this kind of thing:
-people who give selflessly. Who do so without worry or recognition or receiving things in return. Who recognize bigger things than their names or their talent and who know that sometimes just giving is necessary for a beautiful world.
– teachers who love students as if they were their own children. The love in the eyes of so many educators last night was pretty impressive. One of Jamie’s teachers came last night and I wanted to cry and hug her – ya know if I did that kind of thing. I wanted to tell her how much it meant to us she was there. How she makes our lives better and easier and how much Jamie loves her. I did a little bit, but I reeled it in as much as I could.
-friends who see support as such an important part of friendship. Friends recognizing when you have a passion and when your heart has spilled into a cause and showing you they see it and now it’s in their hearts too.
-wine. And food.
Our event is over and my Facebook feed is full of pictures from last night. My heart is pretty full, too.