I know now one thing for certain….I don’t know what to do.
I don’t talk often specifically about my son Jack, but if you have been following me for awhile or have any interest in looking back into my archieves you can find some thoughts about him and his disability–
His disability as stated on his school records is Autism. No one really knows, but we all like to fit things of the unknown in nice comfy boxes that make sense, so when I say Jack has Autism, most people get a sense (more like a lent ball size) idea of what his disability is. He’s certainly not the typical nine year old boy next door when it comes to communication or self expression. Other than that, he’s pretty much like the boy next door who hangs out in front of the TV or computer sucking down hours of time on the Xbox and Wii, You-Tube and Brain Pop while eating his weight in McDonald’s chicken nuggets and fries.
I bring him up today
because today I feel my HEART screaming.
Sometimes having a special needs child, a child that is special, a child that is different from most is so powerfully consuming that the heart has to take over in order to get through the day.
I look at him and I melt. I look at him and I smile. I look at him and my heart grows just a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a tint more redder than before.
Autism is strange, elusive, at times gentle, but often complex.
So many things about a parent is about control. You have a child born onto your ship and there you will teach them to sail it. You teach your children YOUR values, YOUR perspectives, YOUR experience and hope that they turn out like YOU.
You guide them not to DO THIS or DO THAT, YOU make sure they have sleep so you put them to bed a certain time and feed them dinner before. It’s all about control because YOU are the PARENT and YOU are the one who makes most the decisions on how things are going to GO.
WELL, not with Jack. He was born on his own ship. He is the captain of his own unique view. At times I watch him make a choice and can NOT for the life of me figure out WHY in the world he is doing what he is doing. Now in his MIND he is has a reason, but on the outside watching it’s sometimes like watching STRANGE with arms and legs with a really cute smile. He is the happiest kid, most of the time. At the strangest kid some of the times. I love him. I love him for it instead of in-spite of it. He is unique with a capital U and that’s all good with me.
Now here is my pickle….. How do I teach this child? How do I make sure he steers his ship to a place that will not only make him happy, but a place that is well suited for his particularly vision. His way of doing and being HUMAN? He is smart, quick to learn, but so unwilling to do it on anyone else’s time that it looks like he can’t. But he CAN. His way. On HIS TIME while steering HIS SHIP.
School is becoming such an issue that we are being forced to ask the hard question of HOW are we, Matt and I, going to educate this beautiful wonder boy of ours.
I am utterly at a stand still. Literally at a crossroads and not sure which way to turn.
Left, let the school system handle his education and trust that it will all work out in the long run.
Right, take him under my wing and teach him at home with the intervention of outside sources.
This is NOT an easy choice. Jack has a right to learn. He has a right to grow and progress into his BEING. Naturally this occurs to a degree. He will always learn and grow and such, but shoving information down his throat such as “who was Franklin D. Roosevelt” and “write a two page essay on why he was important” doesn’t seem important information for Jack’s Ship and where he is going on it.
…and then something came to mind…
I followed my self to a poem
that kept echoing under my frustrations….
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.