Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taking the Good with the Bad

This morning the school bus didn’t show up. Well, it did show up, but an hour and a half late. By then, I’d already packed up Kiddo and driven him to school. During the ride he was crying. He said he was sad. He told me he was having a bad day. 

Something as insignificant as a late (or no-show) bus has a huge impact on my son. An abrupt change in routine is akin to an earthquake in his carefully ordered world. Things are thrown off-kilter, and it is hard for him to recover from that. 

It took some effort for your not-so-friendly neighborhood Momzilla to offer condolences and gentle words to her confused child. Not because I didn’t feel and sympathize with his pain, but because I felt more inclined to make phone calls and pour some abusive epithets into the guilty party’s ear. I’m ugly like that when someone makes my kid cry. 

Kiddo had calmed down by the time we got to school, thank heavens. At least the tears were done. I walked him down the hall swarming with kids and other parents to his classroom.  

That’s where the blessing in disguise revealed itself. 

The class was just getting started. As my son entered the room, twenty-some heads turned to look at him. Suddenly, the air rang with glad welcomes. Faces broke out in smiles to see Kiddo was with them. Hands rose like a forest to offer high-fives. The cute little redhaired girl I’ve picked as my future daughter-in-law jumped up to give Jacob a hug. He was greeted like a long-lost friend even though they’d seen him just yesterday. 

I thought my heart might explode. My child, who had started the day in tears, grinned from ear-to-ear to see his classmates. He walked a gauntlet of kids who were happy to have him among them.  

News and social media are full of reports of special needs kids being bullied and victimized. I’ve almost accepted it as a given that this is the world Kiddo faces. I’m waiting for the day when something goes horribly wrong because someone feels they can hurt a child who is different. I’m expecting the worst long before hoping for the best. 

Today, I got a dose of hope. Thanks to irresponsible adults who didn’t have a backup for a sick bus driver who couldn’t make it to work, I got to see a miracle. I saw some terrific kids who not only accept my son, but delight in him though he thinks and acts differently from them. I got to see that at this time, my child does have a safe place where he is literally welcomed with open arms. Was it worth a few tears? That remains debatable. For now however, I’m smiling as big as my son did when he walked into that classroom filled with friends.

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