Dear Little Love,
Today, the phone rang again, it was school. As I answered I knew who it would be because its Monday and on Monday, well, life is hard for you.
I knew it would be.
As we dressed you and I watched you play, I told you about your day, who you would see and what activities you may encounter. You told me "no". Still, I pushed through breakfast and as I packed your lunch you wandered away letting me know that you had no intention of heading on the bus to school.
We drove up to the top of the hill.
You insisted on getting out. I like to keep you in the car. You want so much to be like the "other" children, yet you are who you were meant to be, a child who is teaching our entire family and all those we encounter. You truly are a gift but your baggage you carry weighs you down.
As the bus passed, you were agitated. You wanted to go. You watched as the others, the 6th graders, 5th graders, 4th graders and Kindergartners boarded the bus and instantly you knew, you knew where they were going and you wanted to be included.
My hand rested gently on your back as I wore your backpack and I wished more than anything you too could ride that bus.
You see sweet girl, that bus is too much Its too loud and though the kids have the best intentions, its not perfect, and there is no aide to protect you, and so as you wept, another bus rounded the corner. I carefully buckled your backpack on your shoulders and you insisted that you needed to be on that "D" is for Dinosaur bus.
If you only knew sweet girl. If you only knew how I longed for you to board that bus with the others. If you only knew how I wish your life were easier and in turn our lives as well.
You are our gift.
You are the reason we are learning compassion, understanding, empathy. You are who you are intended to be.
As the day moved on, there was no call, unlike weeks past, I didn't hear you had bitten or pinched or kicked and my heart was relieved and then, as I whipped up a batch of after school cookies, the phone rang.
My heart sank.
I ended the call with my very best friend and knew who would be on the other end.
As the call echoed, I knew the conference we were about to have.
Immediately, I was embarrassed. I felt sorry. I apologized and then it came, "Mrs. North, you have nothing to apologize for".
It seems sweet girl, since your diagnosis, I have spent a lot of time crying or apologizing or a bit of both at the same time but today, you see, it was different. I listened. The administrator reminded me with love and compassion, the same love and compassion we are learning from you that its okay.
You see, I was drafted my love. I didn't choose this journey but some people choose children like you. Some people thrive on seeing the growth of kids who think, act and learn differently and little did I know one day I would join their ranks.
And so, instead of apologizing, today I thanked them. I thanked them for acting with love and kindness. I thanked them for accepting you for who you are and where you are today and made a few suggestions of my own.
Sweet girl, you are only 5, but today again I am reminded of the blessing of autism. It has helped me learn that I cannot control others, only myself and its time to stop apologizing for that which I cannot control.
So sweet girl, show that sweet side of yourself. Work towards being the best you can be and perhaps, next week, next Monday I won't get a call reminding me that I need to stop apologizing and start recognizing all you continue to teach me each day.
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