Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting For The Wave

I really need to stop being surprised by what Sean does…

Yes, when I picked him up for a short orthodontist appointment this morning he did bring along everything as if was going home from school for the rest of the day.

And yes, even though it’s 30 degrees outside he’s opting to go about wearing only a t-shirt and then complaining that he’s cold.

But I was really floored by an email I received earlier today from his counselor at school.

Now I know what you all are thinking…

It’s where I go every time the phone rings or I see an email from school….

“What did Sean do now?”

But today was a good thing. 

This year Sean’s counselor has had him attending a group session on Fridays during lunch.  Certainly, that is nothing new.  He’s been in group and individual sessions during school time for as long he’s been autistic.

I’m not sure why Sean did not take to the group session like he’s done in the past.  Could it be that he was missing out on all the action in the cafeteria at lunch?  Could it be that they weren’t playing strategy games like they’ve done before?

Or could it be that he simply wants to appear “normal” for once?

We have always, always made Sean’s autism out to be a positive thing.  And he’s proud of his diagnosis.  Sean embraces his differences…his uniqueness.   It’s his confidence in himself that has gotten him so far in life. 

Sean doesn’t want to be cured because he feels… and we feel… that there is nothing wrong with him.

Sean is perfect just like he is.

Of course it would be nice if he would use utensils when eating spaghetti or say something other than “Great”…

But he’s my kid and I think he’s amazing.

So I should not be surprised then that he went to his counselor this morning and somehow explained to him the reasons why he no longer wanted to participate in the group session.

And they agreed.

Wow, imagine that.

Sean fought his own battle and won.

He had been coming to us off and on for weeks saying that he didn’t understand why he had to be in it.

We always figured that it was in his best interest to participate.  After all, it was a social skills group. 

What texting-at-the-dinner-table teenager doesn’t need one?

But Sean wanted no part of it.

I could beat myself up and say that I failed as his mother to listen to him but I refuse to go there…or at least not this time.

I thought we were all doing something that was good for him.

Now that he’s growing up, I guess he’s deciding more and more what he wants.

Those words are really hard to digest.

He’s growing up.


While I will still maintain that wearing a jacket in 30-degree weather is better than not, I will trust Sean with this one issue.

The new arrangements will be a one-on-one session where they can talk about different things.  I’m sure Sean will be thrilled.

I can only be left wondering what lies ahead.

One day it’s a futon in his room instead of a train table and the next day a grown-up discussion regarding a social skills group.

What will tomorrow bring?

I don’t know.

How often have I said those words?

I don’t know.

But I do know this… my special needs child is beginning to not need me so much.

It feels like that first time your kindergartner forgets to wave good-bye to you as they walk into the school.

It’s thrilling.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’s knowing that they are growing up and that there is nothing you can do about it. 

That’s what I feel today… there’s nothing I can do except stand there and wait for him to wave.

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