The day before yesterday was my middle son's high school orientation. Since he isn't my first child it's not my first time going to one. I thought there would be nothing new for me to learn. I know this is the beginning of high school for my teen, and it's time to be thinking about what they might like to be doing after they graduate, so they can be on the right path with all the best credits under their arm in four years to be off to the best start. I know this, and I've heard all this. I prepared for boredom of the long speech I knew I was about to endure.
At the beginning of the meeting the principal always asks for a show of hands if this will be your first child going into high school. Then, he always asks if it will be your last, and applause always follows for those parents who have done their dues, and are sending their last child off to high school. Bubby raised his hand.
I was confused.
I spent most of the rest of the meeting trying to understand why it was that he had raised his hand. He is not the youngest child.
I surveyed the room.
Once while we were leaving one of my daughter CJ's event's my husband leaned over, and whispered, "Please, tell me we don't look as old as these people." referring to the other parents. We didn't. Since we had CJ at such a young age we were a couple years younger than most of those parents. But, this set of parents? We were about right in line with. Some had on Vans, and other styles that nostalgically reminded me of my 90's days. Unlike CJ's peer's parents no stupid questions were asked, and each, and every one looked as eager to leave as I was. I was pleasantly surprised at how short the meeting was turning out to be!
I also wondered which parent belonged to the shitty kids who had been picking on my Bubby. I wondered if they knew that their kid was shitty to autistic kids in school for fun, or if they'd care. Probably not, since from what I've been told the main child acts the way he does because "he's spoiled".
My eyes gazed over the upper levels of the school where the classrooms, and lockers were. I wondered how Bubby will do here. I wondered how much different it will be to middle school. I glanced over to the vice principal who used to hold another position at the elementary level, and made Bubby's life a lot worse than it had to be. I worried for more than a minute about that scenario.
I think our road to sitting there in that big, open cafeteria planning out high school classes was so different than most of the other kids who occupied that space. It was a long journey that didn't seem that long. It didn't seem that long ago that he was in kindergarten. The educational environment is so much different now than what it was ten years ago when we started out. Only one teacher believed he was autistic, and only because she had a child like him. They all chose to believe that he was just difficult, some chose to believe that even after he had an official diagnosis. Things have really changed drastically in the last several years in relation to what people think autism is, and isn't.
So, the meeting ended, and I kept wondering what the hand raising I mentioned earlier meant. Then, later than evening it hit me after I got home. Bubby is the last child to go to high school in our home. Beans is home schooled, and even if he weren't he'd not go to a high school. If he were enrolled in a public school due to his level of need they'd have him in life skills, or some similar classroom, but there would not be a meeting about classes for him, or college, or anything like that.
My heart sank a little.
I'm not sure why, though. I'm not sad, and that's not really news to me, but I guess it was, because Bubby has a better grasp on that reality than I do. I don't quite know what to think of that.
I have been trying to think of a way to say this, or if I even should. I think a lot of people would tell me that I don't have to explain myself, and that's true, but I want to. I couldn't think of a better way to end this post than by tagging this to the end of it.
My writing has not been very autism oriented lately. I have largely unfollowed most autism pages on FB, as well. I think this post hints as to why. I still like learning about, and talking about it to some degree, but my kids are almost grown up. It's really not my thing anymore to be chatting (arguing! lol) about mommy stuff. I often feel irritated seeing people talk so openly about their children's "behaviors". (I effing hate that word so bad.) I feel like so many of the autistic advocates also go over the line, too, and I'm just kinda over the whole thing. Some days I log onto FB, and it's nothing but people judging each other, and fighting over stupid shit, and who has the right to do what, and it just ends up making me feel agitated. So, I'm just gonna talk about what I like, and what I want to, and toss the rest. I used to be worried that I'd offend too many people by not choosing a side, or whatever, and I'd not have enough allies in the autistic/autism community, but anymore I just don't care. I'm pretty content over here typing away on my own. I will still be involved with disability rights, and helping when I can with local stuff that involve laws, and policies that govern the rights, and protections of people with disabilities. That is still something I am very passionate about. I don't have a lot of autism related content to always blog about anymore. My kids are almost grown, and it's kind of awkward to blog about them the way I did when they were little, but I promise I always have new stuff to talk about.
I hope you all stick around to read it. If not, thanks for reading!