…you know there’s no way in hell this can be good.
At least, that’s what my initial reaction was when my cell phone rang on Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m., and the caller ID flashed the name of the kids’ brand new middle school.
The Second Day of School was not even two hours old.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I thought. We haven’t even survived a fucking week yet and here we go. Let the autism games begin.
Reluctantly, I pressed ANSWER on my cell, mentally calculating whether my to-do list would accommodate the migraine that this call would surely bring on.
“Good morning, this is Melissa,” I mustered up, in my calmest, got-this-crazy-life-all-under-control-thank-you parent voice. Hit me with it. I’m ready for whatever you’re bringing me.
With an exuberance that could rival that of any Disney Channel tween diva, the caller introduced herself as Boo’s new “case manager” for 5th grade. Seems that the “caseload” of special ed students required an assistant for Ms. D., the autism support teacher whom Boo worked with last year. She was “so incredibly lucky and excited to be working with Boo.”
“Oh,” I half-laughed. “Um … that’s great to hear.”
“I know that yesterday was a big day for him, full of a lot of transitions. A new environment in middle school, new teachers, a new routine. I just wanted you to know that I was keeping an extra eye on him, just to see how he did.”
I was speechless.
“Oh my gosh,” I stammered. “Thank you. Thank you so very much.”
“And I wanted to know, are you or your husband coming to Back to School Night?” I confirmed that I was. She was, she continued, having a little meet and greet in one of the classrooms prior to the back to school night, and was hoping I could stop by. Nothing formal, just to get acquainted, put faces to names.
This I could do.
This I could most certainly do.
I’ve written before about how getting special education services back for Boo was a significant reason for our move back to Pennsylvania more than a year ago. And while this move wasn’t easy, nor without a significant loss of money, and I’m still trying to sort my own work situation out (again), moments like that one call on the second day of school have a way of bringing straight to our new doorstep why – despite everything – this was absolutely the right decision.
Maybe that phone call was a reminder to my often-cynical self that something that seems to portend gloom and doom on the surface really can be an amazing gift once we listen to what it really is all about.
(Photo taken by me at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, October 2011. Even our aquatic life in the ‘Burgh are Steelers fans.)
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