Tomorrow will be a milestone day in the Davidson household. Our special needs son Jon Alex will start back to school as a high school freshman. A new school, new teacher, new class, and a new stage in his life.
Those of you raising a child with special needs realize the tension. I’m not that much worried about him. His mother on the other hand….
Jon Alex has had the same teacher in the same CDC room at the same school for several years. But tomorrow he will start going across town to a massive high school with 2,400 other students.
We have met his new teacher and toured his new classroom, but apprehension and nervousness still dominate our thoughts. Becky wishes she had an iJonAlex app she could just download for everyone who will be working with him.
Last night I started thinking about my son entering high school, and how different the experience will be for him. I talk a lot about the Dark Side and how it affects those of us raising a child with special needs. (For explanation of the Dark Side, click here http://jeffdavidson.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/the-dark-side/).
For me, every time we reach a milestone type moment in life, I flirt with a walk on the Dark Side. This one really hit me at first. But then I relied on what I always preach to others. The Dark Side is a destination that you choose. You can’t be forced to go there. So I chose not to go.
These things are undeniably true.
He won’t be going out for the football or basketball team.
He won’t be auditioning for the marching band.
He won’t be entering the science fair or qualifying for the Academic Bowl.
He won’t working on the Homecoming float or decorating for the prom.
He won’t learn to drive a car this year or get his driver’s license.
He won’t ask any girls out on a date, or attend any dances.
Cerebral palsy and autism have robbed him of all those typical high school opportunities. Being nonverbal, mobility-impaired and cognitively impaired will dramatically rob our family of several aspects of his high school years.
As I dwelled on this, I started to struggle. But then I made the choice to focus on the other side.
These things are also true and will also be robbed of us.
I’ll never get a phone call that he wrecked the car while it was full of his friends.
I’ll never have to worry that he is trying drugs or drinking for the first time.
I’ll never pace the floor in the middle of the night wondering where he is, what he is doing, or when he will get home.
I’ll never have to question his judgment in choosing friends or who he allows to influence him.
I’ll never have to worry that he is crossing the line in his behavior with a girl.
I’ll never have to worry that he is failing a class, not applying himself, or gong to get suspended.
It’s all a mater of perspective gang.
Two people can look at the same one thing and see two entirely different things. You can look at something and see it two ways as well.
You have that a choice in how you look at things.
Choose well. Choose joy.