Thursday, August 30, 2012

When You Get a Call from School at 10:30 on the Second Day .... know there's no way in hell this can be good.

At least, that's what my initial reaction was when my cell phone rang on Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m., and the caller ID flashed the name of the kids' brand new middle school.

The Second Day of School was not even two hours old.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I thought. We haven't even survived a fucking week yet and here we go. Let the autism games begin.

Reluctantly, I pressed ANSWER on my cell, mentally calculating whether my to-do list would accommodate the migraine that this call would surely bring on.

"Good morning, this is Melissa," I mustered up, in my calmest, got-this-crazy-life-all-under-control-thank-you parent voice. Hit me with it. I'm ready for whatever you're bringing me.

With an exuberance that could rival that of any Disney Channel tween diva, the caller introduced herself as Boo's new "case manager" for 5th grade. Seems that the "caseload" of special ed students required an assistant for Ms. D., the autism support teacher whom Boo worked with last year. She was "so incredibly lucky and excited to be working with Boo."

"Oh," I half-laughed. "Um ... that's great to hear."

"I know that yesterday was a big day for him, full of a lot of transitions. A new environment in middle school, new teachers, a new routine. I just wanted you to know that I was keeping an extra eye on him, just to see how he did."

I was speechless.

"Oh my gosh," I stammered. "Thank you. Thank you so very much."

"And I wanted to know, are you or your husband coming to Back to School Night?" I confirmed that I was. She was, she continued, having a little meet and greet in one of the classrooms prior to the back to school night, and was hoping I could stop by. Nothing formal, just to get acquainted, put faces to names.

This I could do.

This I could most certainly do.

I've written before about how getting special education services back for Boo was a significant reason for our move back to Pennsylvania more than a year ago. And while this move wasn't easy, nor without a significant loss of money, and I'm still trying to sort my own work situation out (again), moments like that one call on the second day of school have a way of bringing straight to our new doorstep why - despite everything - this was absolutely the right decision.

Maybe that phone call was a reminder to my often-cynical self that something that seems to portend gloom and doom on the surface really can be an amazing gift once we listen to what it really is all about.

(Photo taken by me at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, October 2011. Even our aquatic life in the 'Burgh are Steelers fans.)

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Book Endings said...

Wonderful blog... I love reading every time you post. It sounds like the coming school year is going to be one of the greatest! God Bless!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

This was great to read :)
I'm a teacher and often when I ring parents or call them over at the end of the school day they look scared, even if I'm intending to give good news!

Trish said...

Amazing, I have tears in my eyes over this one. We are blessed to be in a new school this year with more support than we know what to do with. I know my son will undoubtedly have challenges, but it's so good to know there are people truly looking out for our kiddos!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

So often it seems the only communication with our kids' teachers is negative. As a former spec. ed. teacher (long, long time ago), I know that's especially true in any situation that is not "average." My oldest is OCD...only B she's ever made was in college Chemistry and that was for being late to her 7:30 lab (which her father put her in, not me btw...I knew better). She was a dream student for her teachers which inevitably put even more pressure on her to succeed. I couldn't get them to understand this. Her senior year in high school we finally met our match...a very young soccer coach who had no clue how to deal with kids of any age, much less one with our daughter's issues. The year almost did us in. The woman has since been fired but moved on to another school "down the road" where I'm sure she's somebody else's nightmare. So thankful for your positive situation now :) Our daughter seems to thrive in college where there isn't so much conversation amongst teachers, less expectations based on her previous year's accomplishments etc. With so many students in our schools with exceptionalities, there is no doubt in my mind that ALL teachers need more education and training in these areas.

Alex @ Brain, Body, Because said...

Melissa, I'm so glad to hear about this!