Beth starts school on Monday, and you know what’s crazy – besides the fact that we’re only half way through August and school’s already starting – I didn’t know.
That’s right, I’m such a lousy father I didn’t know when school started.
Well, today I’m feeling charitable. I like to think I’m just forgetful. Forgetful parents aren’t necessarily lousy, are they?
Anyhoo, I’m of a mind to see this as a great step forward for Beth. Not that her father didn’t know, but that I wasn’t worrying about it coming. Dreading is actually a better word.
You see, when most parents are rejoicing in school’s return, I’ve always dreaded it. School was a time of suffering for Beth, and I suffered with her. Asperger’s made Beth different, and school kids eat different for lunch. Of course, this was before we knew Beth had Asperger’s. For a couple years we just thought she was eccentric. We thought it came in the package with a high IQ. It took a while for us to realize how different. She was our only child, and she was cursed with shy parents (me anyway). I don’t do well with people myself, so I lacked another point of reference.
Then we went through years of therapists, doctor’s of varying specialties, and finally a psychiatrist or two.
It wasn’t until someone got us in to see the department head of psychiatry at the children’s hospital in St Pete, a year and a half ago, that we learned a form of autism was the likely candidate. It wasn’t until we lucked into a study with the local university that we saw any therapy that made a difference. It wasn’t until the psychiatrist recommended a small, private school we’d never heard of, which had success with high functioning autism kids, that Beth found respite from the bully squads of public school.
She was among her own, and she was as happy as I’ve ever seen her.
The neighborhood kids can be no better than the ones from school. Their parents seem to worry Beth’s quirks will rub off on their kids, so they don’t let her inside to play. It’s only at school that she’s among friends.
So you see, the school year isn’t just good for Beth – it’s a blessing.
So I think I get a pass for forgetting the first day of school. Now it’s just another day.