New Friends, New Opportunities

The Boy and I went over for a “playdate” of sorts with some new friends from our local chapter of the Autism Society.  The Boy had gone to summer camp with this boy, and I’ve leaned on his mom quite a bit through our schooling struggles.  The boys had a blast – it was very neat to see The Boy getting along so well with kids his own age (or thereabouts), and I was grateful just to have the chance to do it, and the chance for him to make some real friends, something he hasn’t yet done at school.

And I can’t overlook the chance for me to make friends.  It can be a bit lonely moving away from almost everyone you know.  I still love my friends from up north, but I can’t hang out with them by any means, and so I spend a lot of time by myself, especially being underemployed.  It doesn’t lend itself to maintaining your sanity, let’s just say, so it was nice to get out and just hang out with someone, especially someone who really gets what I’m going through right now.

The last time he rode the bus, The Boy was in kindergarten...

The last time he rode the bus, The Boy was in kindergarten…

One of the things we have been talking about has been a possible switch in schools for The Boy.  We’re hoping to get him into a pilot program at a middle school across the county which is aimed at high functioning kids on the spectrum.  It happens to be housed where our new friends go to school (across the county, requiring busing), and New Friend’s Mom can’t say enough good things about the special ed staff, who really seem to know autism, front and back.  So, we are pursuing it, because his current school is still not following his IEP, and seem to be taking their sweet time even implementing any of the county specialists recommendations.

It would be a tremendous transition, again, and we have weighed that into the decision, but at this point, I strongly feel he is not in the correct placement, and I’m ready to fight to get him into this program (even though I don’t think I will really need to).

So keep your fingers crossed for The Boy.  New opportunities may be on the horizon that would be much better in the long run, but may be a little painful at first.  Just another day on the spectrum.

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Eleven and a Half

Twenhofel Middle SchoolEleven and a half is such a strange age.  He seems like a giant, adult-like person from a distance, and then I get closer (sometimes only when he’s sleeping), and he seems like such a little child, albeit in a body that is almost as tall as mine.

And his actions and emotions are equally dichotomous – sometimes very mature and sober, and others toddler-like and silly.  I’m sure I have a wistful, “Where did my baby go?” face, because he catches me looking at him and puts on his, “Mom, you’re looking at me weird” face.

The specter of Middle School is hitting me, because I am going to attempt to register him today.

Am I ready for this?  Is he?  It doesn’t matter because it’s happening whether we want it to or not.  He wants it to, and I…  I just want him to be happy and productive.  How many middle schoolers does that describe?  How many people want to re-live the good old days of middle school?  Very few.  I have a bit of experience with it after having taught there for almost half my life, and it is a struggle (at least in some fashion) for the great majority of the population.

I worry.  And I miss my baby.  And change is hard.  But he and I are strong people, and together with The Man, we’ll get through it.  Somehow.

The Look

"Now I can buy the things I love^ Here's ...You know the saying about there being a fine line between bravery and stupidity?

Increasingly, I have been getting “the look” from people I know and work with.  The look that says the person can’t quite tell which one I am, brave or stupid.  This “idea” of giving it all up and moving south.  “Is she really gonna do it?” is what that look says.  Mostly it’s people who don’t know me too well, because the people who know me well also know it isn’t an “idea” — it’s a reality.

I can understand the look.  I can understand the thought process behind it.  But the truth is, my parents prepped me for big moments like this the entire time I was growing up.  Education, education, education was the key to independence, independence, independence.  For a long, long time, I assumed it was freedom from depending on someone else.  But it isn’t just independence from other people.  It’s also independence as my own person.  Independence from a job, career path, lifestyle, society, thought, etc.  The ability to think for myself and know myself enough to know when to walk away.  To walk toward something simpler, easier, more satisfying.  Toward a smaller pile of money, sure, but much more happiness.  And not just for me, but for my boy, too.

And it’s not all that easy.  Some things will be infinitely harder down there.  But there will be love.  Lots of love.  And I guess I never quite stopped believing that love is enough, especially now that I know what true love feels like.

The most interesting part about “the look”?  Mixed in with all of the incredulity, disbelief, and sizing up?

There’s more than a little jealousy in there, too.