This maple is the meeting place I established, years ago, in case of a fire. Thankfully, the morning our house was set on fire, we fled our home together and yet, without thinking, ran to the designated maple.
I’d like to highlight this: take a second, make a plan and then picture yourself enacting it. I know that doesn’t seem like enough, but it’s amazing what kicks in in an emergency.
We’re in the final days of school. Last weekend both of the big kids had a lot of homework, mostly studying for finals this week. Christopher is doing much better with personal organization and self-motivation, but still benefits from re-direction. After church yesterday I couldn’t find him and asked Paul if he knew where he was.
“I thought I heard him out front.” Paul said.
I had scanned the front yard and there was no sign, but then I heard Christopher’s distinctive voice from a strange distance. I walked outside and there he was.
Between the fire and the rebuild we lost four mature maples, one of which was the kids’ second climbing tree that Eden never got to climb. To climb this tree, even the big kids need a ladder to get to the lowest branches. Yesterday Christopher nailed a few boards and scrabbled up into the highest branches. From this aerie he shouted at birds and passing cars. He was delighted when I found him and took his picture.
“The boards I nailed are not very secure.” He said. I walked around the tree and saw them. They were too small and his big feet had pushed them up and down—not secure at all—and yet he got up as high as the tree would hold him.
Here Christopher is outside of church with his portable loom. One of his electives this semester was a ceramics class and they’re finishing out the year with a weaving project. All week long he has been dragging this loom around everywhere in order to meet the deadline when they are cutting and binding their hangings in class today.
We had him take ceramics because we were looking for an elective that was hands on and didn’t have a lot of homework. His support teacher was nervous because this art teacher runs a very tight ship and has been known to kick kids out of her classes with the slightest provocation. I pushed a little and the support teacher met with the art teacher who, when she heard about Christopher, said “This class will be perfect for him.” And it has.
His other elective this semester was theater which was selected for the same reasons as ceramics, but has not gone as ideally. The entire class culminates in a series of one act plays the students produce. I assumed Christopher would do something technical and behind the scenes and was surprised to learn he was cast in one of the plays. As I ran lines with him I was even more surprised he had the largest part.
“How did this happen?” I asked. I couldn’t believe the teacher assigned him the most lines.
“I chose it. But it is a decision I now regret.” He said.
He plays “Death” opposite “Life”, “Youth” and “The Girl”. It’s a terrible play and “Death” is the biggest and best part, which should tell you something. Youth and The Girl are would-be suicides. Death and Life throw the die for both their lives and Life wins. You will wish she didn’t; they’re both so horrible.
“I think my classmates are going to be surprised at how well I know my part.” He has been the weakest link up until now and his fellow thespians have been giving him some push back. Yesterday we focused on pacing and interpretation, which we will continue tonight and tomorrow.
When you first understand that your child has special needs, it can feel like your path has been diverted. Of course parents of a typical child will tell you that there are turns in every road. And yet, with a child with special needs, the journey can be so arduous with no end in sight. The relationship continually changes (hopefully!) and evolves (more hope!) but is it ever really over—for any parent—until it’s over?
Four more days of tenth grade.
Further up and further in.