Jan 16, 2011

To Amanda, with love

A couple of weeks ago, I found a homeschool coop in my area, or close enough, anyway. I called the lady who coordinates it, and she gave me the lowdown. Only about 12 families, cool classes. Meets every Friday for 4 hours. It sounded perfect for us!
So I gave her the lowdown. Three kids, one with Aspergers and alot of anxiety, one with a sleep disorder, who may or may not be asleep while we are there, and the tween daughter who gets along with everyone and also sleeps at night.
Last Friday was our first meeting. Nelda (sleep disorder) had been awake since sometime Thursday morning, but was still awake, so I was hoping she wouldn't fall asleep in the car. Jack (AS) got up and was ready to go 15 minutes before we had to leave (miracle!). And Abby, of course, was very excited.
I was excited because I was going to get to spend time with other adults who wouldn't question ANY of this!
We got there early (another miracle). Joy, the very nice lady I had met on the phone gets there a few minutes after us. We helped her unpack her car and carry stuff in.
The first thing she says when we get inside is "You can put your lunches over there!"
Um, lunches??
Yeah, we didn't have lunches. Okay. I happen to have some tortilla strips and cans of Sprite in the car, so minor embarrassment, but not horrible.
Then the other families start coming in. They all have tons of kids. There were 40 kids and only 3 or 4 sets of parents. It was like the Duggars meets Jon and Kate plus 8.
Nelda and Abby are blending right in, making friends and exchanging phone numbers before the thing even started.
Then I look around for Jack. He is standing in a corner of the hallway, pressed as far into the wall as he can go, and he had that blank look in his eyes that he gets when he is trying to magically transport to a different universe.
I try not to panic. I go over to him. "Jack, are you okay?" No response. "Jack?" Finally, his eyes focus slightly, and he says in monotone, "I would be more okay if I was at home now."
I try to explain that we can't leave, because Abby and Nelda would be devastated if we did, but I also realize I kinda need to get him out of the throngs of people right freakin NOW.
So I grab Joy and quickly explain. She is wonderful, of course, and tells me everything is fine, and go take care of your son.
I take him back upstairs where there are no people. He is now on his cell with his friend Daniel, who doesn't have a car or a drivers license, and is begging him to come pick him up. I finally get him calmed down, but he doesn't want me to leave. So now I am upstairs with Jack. Not downstairs meeting other adults or participating in all the festivities.
Thank God for my daughter Amanda. I felt the tears welling up, but I knew I couldn't start crying in front of Jack. He was still on the phone with his friend, desrcribing the horrors of the whole situation and trying to come up with an escape plan.
I called Amanda and explained the situation. I love that girl. She realizes I am about to lose it, and talks me down from it. She points out that it's okay if Jack isn't comfortable. If Abby, Nelda and I love it, we can keep going anyway. Jack doesn't need to love it.
So long story....er....less long, Jack agrees to hang out (mostly in the car) while the girls and I enjoy the rest of the session.
The girls loved it and can't wait to go back. I loved it. Especially the part where everyone just took what happened with Jack as no big deal and didn't have to give me advice on what I needed to do with him, or how I need to make him do things he doesn't want to do, because he needs to learn that.
Thank you, Amanda, because you know I would have left if not for you.
Have I told you lately that I love you?

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