“Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them – a mother’s approval, a father’s nod – are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.”
― Mitch Albom
Tyler, our oldest, just turned 15 years old.
Did I blink and this happened?
I can’t help but become reflective (as I tend to do anyway) when our boys’ birthdays roll around. And, this year, in particular, there are many changes coming. Tyler, who has been in our caring school community, will need to move from this comforting and familiar place to start at a new high school. Our district is special and unique; it is too small for its own high school, but just the right size for our children to thrive and not fall through the cracks of anonymity. For a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, this is a wonderful thing.
Until it’s time to leave.
Our team met this week to plan Tyler’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that will transition him to a high school. Even though it hasn’t been always the smoothest ride (life with Tyler has not been a smooth ride) this District knows us well and feels very comfortable, supportive, and a bit like an extended family. It is a remarkable community from the students to all the educators, and particularly, his teachers. They put heart and soul into educating our son.
What will the next school be like? Will they care about him somewhere else? Will students and faculty be kind to him?
I feel comfortable enough with our team that I can share my thoughts. I told them that out of fear, I have buried my head in the sand, and haven’t thought about transitioning much at all. My husband and I haven’t begun to talk about what we want for Tyler and what an enriching program for him would look like. I wonder if schools even want to have our son, or is it something they know they just have to do? So many worried and anxious thoughts buzz around in my busy brain.
And then, I remember that my mother, who was a Special Education teacher, was passionate about all the children she taught, just as Tyler’s teachers feel about him. I have to remind myself that people who choose to work in this field do so because they care very much about children like Tyler and want them to have the best they can give.
I still can’t believe our once very active, very little boy is now a 15-year-old.
I was completely touched to know that so many students at his school wanted to come to Tyler’s lunchtime school birthday celebration. Even our younger 7th grade son headed down to Tyler’s class to help celebrate! This is a huge milestone for us; for many years, because of Tyler’s difficult behaviors, it was too hard for our younger son to take part. I am incredibly proud of both of our boys for changing and growing and not staying locked to the past. They have been able to redefine their relationship as brothers.
For now, we just celebrate this birthday! We went to Mosby’s Pumpkin Patch, shopped for Halloween costumes, had dinner out and about, and enjoyed time with part of Tyler’s supporting team and friends. It is cause for celebration. Many years were very hard and I felt deep sadness when I watched the way other families could have “typical” birthday parties. Now, I don’t feel that same pain; I just enjoy the fun and all the dear people who love and celebrate our boys.
Which leads me to my Latest Fabulous Revelations:
- “The days are long but the years are short.” - Gretchen Rubin
- If I continue to share honestly my thoughts and concerns, then people can help me address them
- There will be other caring educators, students, and a high school that will teach our son(s)
- Kind people are everywhere; I don’t need to be afraid that I will be alone
- As long as you have community, it doesn’t matter what it “looks” like
- My boys can change and grow, and so can I
How do you feel about the passing of the years and your children growing up? Do you have fears that you avoid even thinking about? What happens if you put your true fears out there? Can you meet and accept change as part of life? How do you just get comfortable with it?
As always, I would really love to know!
Cheers and xox!