Waiting in the car line

I’ve been picking Adam up after school for the last six weeks, give or take a few days. Before that, Beth was picking him up when he got out. They both go to private schools, but Beth was only doing half days. Her school didn’t offer all of the classes she wanted/needed, so she got out early to take her remaining courses online. She had a car and her online courses were pretty flexible, so she could save us money by picking up Adam when he got out of school a little later. She was more than willing to make this sacrifice if there was a little something in it for her – like a car. (Yes, aftercare is that expensive.)

Beth started riding the train to school (which opened after we moved here) after the accident, so it meant Adam had to go to aftercare until I got off work.

If none of this sounds particularly interesting, that’s because it isn’t, but here’s where it gets fun.

I was picking up Adam the other day, and although he was standing right in front of me, they couldn’t find him. They weren’t physically looking for him, they were trying to find him in the books so I could sign him out.

“Why don’t I have Adam on my list?” One woman asked.

“Well, he came over from the car line and…” I stopped listening.

Me: “Adam, I’ve been picking you up for weeks now. You knew no one was coming right after school, so why would you wait in the car line?”

I was sure I was going to hear about someone picking on him in aftercare. I could feel it coming. I was ready to go through all of the emotions. I might have even turned towards the woman looking through her books, assuming they were giving her some cover for what she knew was coming too.

Adam (in a hushed tone): “Can I tell you in the car?”

Something was up. I knew it. I shrugged my shoulders, signed him out, and we left.

Me: “Okay, let me have it.”

Adam: “Well, I knew they were charging by the hour and I figured if I waited in the car line for thirty minutes every day it would save you and mom some money.”

You’ve been waiting in the car line every day?


No is making you, are they?

“No, why would they?”

No one is picking on you in aftercare?


You’re just waiting in line. Every day. Even though you know you don’t have to, because you chose to… to save money?

“Yes, why? Is that bad?”

No, I don’t think so. It’s just… unexpected.

So Adam is working the angles of fourth grade, to save a few bucks.


Summer’s end

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.