Saturday, May 28, 2016

Anniversary

When I made dinner plans with my friend Robin for last night, I didn't realize that it would be an anniversary of sorts. All I knew was that I had a brand-new spinning wheel* that could benefit from the attention of a yarn expert, and it had been a while since our sons had had a chance to play together. As I sat chatting with her while our kids played dinosaurs, I felt like I was a million years from where I was on May 27th, 2015, the day my son P was evaluated for autism and found to be gifted. On that day I felt like I had been handed the worlds biggest gift while standing on the edge of the world's biggest chasm. The news about his intellectual ability was amazing! But on that day I felt like we were still no closer to finding out why he was so emotional and quirky, and why he just couldn't make friends. I still felt so far from any real help for him.

Little did I know that his giftedness was the source both of his problems and his abilities. It made his life richer and more difficult. And last year if you would have told me that one year later he'd be happily playing downstairs with a friend just as smart and quirky as him, that we'd have the support of professionals who really get him (his pediatrician and OT are amazing), that we'd meet families who struggle with the same things we struggle with, that he'd be accepted to the district's gifted magnet school, that by embracing and encouraging his quirky interests we'd have a child who was all-around happier and more balanced...well, I wouldn't have believed you.

It's glorious to be wrong sometimes. 

Life isn't perfect by any stretch but on that late-spring night it was pretty great. 


* Yeah, a spinning wheel. I'm a bigger nerd than you thought, aren't I? 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

One year later

When I was in college I kept a journal. It was just a floppy disk with Corel WordPerfect files...arranged in folders named with the year, containing folders named with the months, containing files named with the date. I liked looking back at what I was doing on that date one year ago, and two years ago, mulling over what had changed in those 365 or 730 days, and wondering what I would be doing in another year.

Now that I've owned my phone for over one year I'm able to flip back in my phone's calendar and see what I was doing 365 days ago. On Wednesday I did just that as I was sitting in a rickety metal folding chair in a school gymnasium. On that date in 2015 I apparently didn't do much of anything of note...I had a meeting, and my husband had an evening shift at work. But even though I wasn't doing much I can tell you exactly what I was thinking...that I was sixteen days away from the school evaluation meeting that would determine whether my son had autism. That was all I ever thought about in May 2015, dreading the possibility that my kid may get chewed up by my district's special education system, and holding out hope that his IQ testing would yield good enough results to keep him in regular education despite any label he might acquire.

I had no idea that one trip around the sun later I would be sitting in that rickety chair, my son in the chair next to me, leaning on my shoulder, kicking his feet, waiting for orientation to start at my district's magnet school for gifted and talented students.

The orientation brought a mix of emotions. The kids at that school are impressive. Really impressive. I kind of wonder if my spacey, quirky kid will fit in. I worry about whether he'll be too frustrated when work finally challenges him. I cringe at the idea of paying the huge school fees this school requires and still not having find a peer group or make friends.

But I guess one thing this year has taught me is that on May 2017 I may be doing any number of things, but I won't be able to predict any of them. All I can do is hang on for the ride.