One week…

I could, given the proper encouragement, spew a long list of imprecations that would colorfully fill in the spaces created by our anxiety over the (seemingly) sudden arrival of May and, with it, the official, irreversible and final closing of J’s school years.  Don’t encourage this, please, I’ve become more descriptive and uncouth as I’ve watched the clock tick towards this moment.  Our Webster’s Third New International Dictionary sits on the desk, waiting for me to dig through its pages to find a new BIG WORD to send through the air, cleaving my nervousness in half.

I know it sounds like I’m thinking this is D-Day, or like I’m about to embark on some tremendous undertaking…like Mount Rushmore, the Suez Canal, the Pyramids, Machu Picchu, or the Great Wall of China.  I’m just transitioning an adult from school to no school.  Piece of cake…not a box-mix cake, but piece of cake nonetheless…

Whether you attribute it to Flaubert, van de Rohe, or Warburg, the whole “God is in the detail” comes to mind right now.  And then it morphs into “the Devil is in the detail” because little monkey wrenches keep being thrown into the gears, and we realize that each task completed and refined is the springboard to another.  Every day brings another thing we “forgot about” to our list.  It’s the little things.  It’s the stuff that we wouldn’t normally expect to have to address…

As I work my way through the normal schedule of MY day, my mind keeps popping with ideas of things I have to do.  Is the schedule board good enough?  How do we phase out the smaller boards that used to address getting ready in the morning, after-school activities, packing our school bag?  How do we translate the contents of his lunch box into the panorama of eating at home every day?  This will not be a big-scale social activity (well, as big as the scale can be in a SpEd classroom,) and we have to figure out a better way to integrate socializing into J’s at-home world.

A step in the right direction has definitely and firmly been taken.  J now puts his new friend, MedSchoolGirl, on the board without prompting.  He likes her.  They still are a bit hesitant around each other, but that’s the way these things work.  (Cue Getting to Know You from The King and I.)  The people down at Five Guys welcome J every Saturday like Elvis has entered the building; he likes that…it’s like Norm and Cliff have entered Cheers at the same time.  If this is Saturday, it must be Five Guys…after Kroger, of course, but the sea of people is greater there, and J goes mostly unnoticed.  Tuesdays we see the baby and his mom, an exercise in reliving the toddler years with a lot more exhaustion and a lot less strife involved.  J and his nephew continue to dance around each other, trying to figure out how they feel about each other’s presence.  So far so good…

The search for a gym buddy continues.  TGG is out completely.  If we see him once a month we consider ourselves lucky.  He doesn’t call.  He texts.  We’ve grown accustomed to the new status quo and, quite honestly, we don’t think that J would feel the same comfort he used to feel around his brother.  That is strange to us, and yet it seems a lesson in how we all are -to a degree- expendable to this person who lives in such a limited world.  You fill a need, you have value.  You leave, your job is passed on to another who will take it.  It’s not that J doesn’t love, but J doesn’t have time for wallowing in thoughts of abandonment and loneliness.

I know he is trying to figure out why there is a sense of loss surrounding these next few days.  There is a saying-goodbye quality to all the planning, and it is not the saying-goodbye he has learned to live with over the years.  There is no “we’ll see you at the end of summer,” and no “you’ll see some of us at summer school.”  There is “we’re going to miss you.”  There is “time has gone by so fast!!!”

In the meantime, I am working on different conversations from the ones we’ve had over the years when he got off the bus.  I no longer will have to ask “how was your day?”  I probably will because I’ve always had very good customer service skills, and I want to know how J has felt about what we’ve done and the way we’ve done it.  And I will keep tweaking the processes and fine-tuning the routines.

We know each other pretty well.  We are, and I hate to say this because I’ve realized that it’s not ENTIRELY true, a close-knit bunch who try to be there for each other.  We know a lot.  We are not so tightly-woven together that there isn’t room for surprises, but we’re also not oblivious to the idiosyncrasies of each other’s fears, strengths, hopes, concerns, aspirations.

J simply doesn’t want to not be a part of something.  I know this about him.  He is happy being by himself, but he doesn’t want to be lonely.  He is happy at leisure, but he doesn’t want to be bored or useless.  He knows how long days are, and how long they can feel.  This is true of all of us.

So we are down to the wire.  It’s the bottom-half of the ninth inning, bases are loaded, two outs…

It’s been a long, good season…








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