Dropping Tucker off at Kindergarten Round-Up was wrought with trepidation. I was so jealous of the other parents who reveled in the ‘finally it’s Kindergarten time’ or the ‘my child is SO excited to go to Kindergarten’ discussions. We experienced neither. I understood my son, others did not. I knew what to do with him, others did not. I knew how to respond to schedule changes and meltdowns, others did not. I knew what to do with him when we would physically lash out, others did not.
I knew it wouldn’t go well – no matter how much my perpetual positive self tried to take over. I knew it wouldn’t go well. But I held out hope. One of the Kindergarten teachers went to our church so I put my faith in her. I knew her, I knew she would take care of him. But, he didn’t get her for Kindergarten Round-Up.
I picked him up. I tried to get details out of the teacher…but there was nothing. So I waited for the letter.
This will be a continued theme in this blog. When your child struggles…the joys of school firsts that other parents get are relatively nonexistent.
Waiting for a letter or a call. Would he go or would he not? Did they work to ‘get’ him or did they not?
Other parents were getting their letters. I was still checking the mailbox, to no avail.
Finally, the phone rang.
They weren’t willing to say if he was ready or not – but wanted to do some testing. I knew it was coming, but it was more proof. My version of life was again being altered. Keep on smiling though…keep on smiling.
To prepare, I was told an OT (Occupational Therapist) would be calling to get more information about Tucker. A small interview was an understatement. I spent two hours on the phone with her. When the phone call was over, I sobbed. It became so obvious – she knew him, without knowing him. I knew that meant something. Then another hour with the speech therapist. These folks would soon be some of the most important people in his life.
The appointment was set.
The day came.
It was a day I dreaded. It was wonderful and awful, all at the same time. This was the moment. I can still remember the chill of the day. It was overcast and rainy. It seemed very fitting. A day that was not full of sunshine and brightness.
Here I was. Alone in this vehicle with my precious son. He knew nothing of what was to come. He knew nothing of what we were REALLY doing.
As a parent, this is the ultimate challenge. How to show your happiness and excitement on your ‘outside’ when inside you are absolutely experiencing desperation, sadness, frustration—a ‘loss’ of the things you thought would happen. It’s a grieving of sorts.
On the other side, there is a relief in finally knowing.
Relief in knowing, but the pain of knowing your child is on the spectrum cuts deep.
It cuts because you know as a mother that life will not be easy.
It cuts because every parent wants an easier life for their child.
It cuts because you already begin worrying about college admission and creating lifelong relationships.
Testing makes it real. Up until this point everything was speculation.
On the way there, I held back tears.
We arrived. I opened the door for Tucker. He looked at me with those eyes and says, “Let’s go mama. I love you.”
He was braver than me.
We walk through the door. They take Tucker into one room me to another…