Greyson received his first ever homework assignment last week, which is due tomorrow. Once a week he spends the day with his own teacher shadow at a typical preschool (vs a special education classroom). Since autism brings with it difficulty with social interactions, it's important to me that he spends time each week surrounded by typically developing children. I don't send him there to learn about letters or numbers or math. Grey gets to see how the other children speak, follow directions, interact, play, and sit calmly during circle time. I just want him to learn how to be okay being around other people.
The other children in his classroom learn incredible life lessons too. They learn patience and that we are all different and learn at different paces. They learn that it's not okay to laugh at someone who takes longer, doesn't get something right or misbehaves. They learn how to use their gifts to help others. I've seen beautiful interactions that have made me want to cry- from the helper children. God puts at least one in every single classroom for every single child with Super Powers. I promise you- God will always take care of your child that way. Once a little girl said, I prayed to God last night that Greyson would start talking soon. Oh sweet girl, me too. Me too.
For many many months going to school was extremely hard for Grey- maybe even for a whole year. It's funny how forgettable our biggest struggles in the moment can become. He would cling to me while I walked him into school in the morning. For the past few months whenever we pass the school's exit on the freeway but don't exist- he screams and points. It took me a couple of times before I realized what he wanted. You want to go to school, buddy?! Ohmygosh. You want to go to school. Oh, I'm so sorry- we only go there on Wednesdays. He likes being there. He loves music class. I think he even likes being around the other children- it's just also really hard for him at the same time. I feel what he feels sometimes- and that's what I have felt lately. I like this- but sometimes it makes me freak out.
Last night I was filling out his homework- his All About Me poster. I was surprised at the lump in my throat and the numerous emotions colliding. I dug in deep, looking for the source of the sadness and discovered many different layers. I can't believe I have a little person. A whole entire little human who has likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams and his own life away from me. He was just born yesterday, yet he's almost five. I don't understand how that happens. I was so happy when I realized that although he doesn't speak- I know so much about him. Words aren't our only means of communicating- what we do and how we act often says so much more. I was sad because so often- my gut instinct about his future scares me- and this poster only had spaces for the optimist me. And in stretching to think that way- I realized it was possible- anything. And lastly, I got so sad because I couldn't ask him how I should answer, When I grow up I want to be...
It was the only thing I couldn't answer without him...I really could only guess at what he would say. Would he say truck driver? jumper? I had no answers at all. I don't know what he will be capable of and sometimes that's scary.
And then I realized exactly what the answer should be.
Happy. An answer more of us should choose.
Happiness isn't a noun. It's not a Police Man or Doctor or Mom or a new shiny car. It's not a vacation home or another job or a boob job or three children or another person. It isn't complicated- happy just is. It's an adjective. A beautiful, simple, shiny adjective. It's deep within. It's a feeling high in your chest and scattered throughout your cells.
We work so hard. Tirelessly to line up all the pieces. Doctors and vegetables and tests and activities and schools and vitamins and everything. It's exhausting. But it all comes down to happy. And at least for today, and maybe even forever, happy is enough for me.
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Chrissy I LOVE your answer that that question... .Happy!! My son brought home this very same homework assignment this year from preschool and I got so nervous as well not knowing how to answer that question. You answered it perfectly!! We should ALL want to be that when we grow up! Great job momma! -KReplyDelete
Thanks! Happy totally works for me. Let's both put that down for what WE want to be too- you know- IF we have to grow up?! Big Hugs XOXODelete
Oh Chrissy. You are so not alone. My son is 5, was non verbal but has started to talk slowly. He had so much trouble going to preschool when he started at the age of 3. Now he loves school but I think it's hard for him at times too. I too want him to be with other peers to see how they interact. I think it is wonderful that you send Greyson to preschool. I know I want to shelter my child but at the same time know I can't shelter them from life. You are a true inspiration to me Chrissy and I love reading your posts. You give me hope.ReplyDelete
And for what Greyson want's to be when he grows up "Happy" is the perfect choice. I didn't think of that but you can see Greyson and Parker are happy in their photos. The joy in their eyes seems to beam from within. God bless you!
God bless you too my friend! I agree with everything you said- sometimes we have to juggle a little to know when to jump in and help and when to let them learn how to swim on their own. So hard sometimes!!!Delete
You made me cry again. I love that - happiness. I'm 32 years old and I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grow up until I saw Greyson's picture. Happy. That sounds like about the noblest thing I could aspire to... and really, that's all that makes sense to me. Thank you. I love you and your boys so much. Odd, as I don't know you. But, true.ReplyDelete
Not odd at all. I love you too. :-) Thanks for all the awesome comments you leave. They mean a lot to me.Delete
Hi Chrissy! I just came across your blog today and I love it! Your boys are so beautiful. I also have a 4 year old boy diagnoised with autism and a 21/2 year old boy with develemental issues...( wasnt sure I could handle another diagnoises so i havent had him evaluated yet). My favorite clothing store is Gap! i have always told my friends that my boys should totally model for Gap! they look at me funny... but really, why not, they are beautiful boys, they have disablities, but they could sell clothes just as easily as any other kid...if not more so...because the are gorgeous and HAPPY! Thanks for writing about your boys. I am sure I will enjoy reading your blog and find encouragement and comfort in following you and your family on your journey.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your sweet words! Sending you love and hugs while you navigate. Many hugs to you. ChrissyDelete
I love reading your blog, its so good to listen to someone who really "gets it" Last spring our CVRC case manager came out and was doing an exit interview for EI. She asked me what my long term goals were for my 3yr olds life. I stared at her blankly for a second and finally said "i don't know, i just want him to be happy" and She looked uncomfortable and prompted "well would you like him to be a mainstream classroom for kindergarten, graduate highschool, go to college." I just said "sure." She just didn't get it, i really didn't have the energy to explain it to her.ReplyDelete
Beautiful. I always enjoy reading your posts. Especially this one today.ReplyDelete
Love this post.ReplyDelete
I came across this blog a fews weeks ago and have been reading it ever since. I have 3 boys and have done that assignment also. Your answer to "what I want to be" is the best I have ever seen. So simple but so true. By the way, one of my sons wanted to be a ninja turtle when he was asked that 20 years ago. He's not a ninja turtle but he is happy...ReplyDelete