Back to School: I Hope it’s a Better Year

My social media newsfeed is a slew of “back to school” shots. Kids posing in their brand new outfits and lunch boxes that they will soon lose. Some smiling. Some sulking. It’s cute. It’s adorable. It’s nice to see a bunch of good looking kids ready to take on a brand new year.

And I can tell you just by looking at the photo if the kids are autistic or not.

It’s not by how they part their hair or how they hold a book bag. It’s how their parents caption their picture.

“I hope it’s a better year.”

Seriously, there must have been ten in a row that said this. Each time I saw one, I’d checked. Yep, a fellow #TeamQuirky member. Over and over again. Parents of the typical kids would just caption it as the first day of whatever grade and move on. Some of them even go super fancy and have the kids hold up a sign they made which I cannot do as I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler. Parents of autistic/special needs, just try to get their kids to sort of look at the camera and take whatever shot that they can get. I can bet you dollars to donuts that there was a photo shoot and there were about 20 other shots on their smartphone that they scrolled through before deciding on that one as “good enough”. They have other things to worry about, which is pretty much everything else related to school.

And good Lord, do I get this. I get this so hard. Last year at this time things were so bad in this house and at his former school. Just getting him out the door on the bus was a freaking production that left me drained by the time he went off to school. Plus, I couldn’t even catch my breath because I was waiting for the dreaded phone call to come. Which it did, nearly every single day. The personal best being from the principal on the second day of school telling me how “out of control” he was and I needed to come get him. She treated us like we had somehow pulled a fast one and scammed him into her school. No one there seemed to understand him or our shock at how bad things were. They didn’t know him or us. They thought that this was the status quo. This went on for months till we found him a new school.

I can’t even believe that an entire year has gone by since then. He is happy. He is thriving. He is still loud as feck and a ten gallons of hyper in a five gallon bucket. He is The Kiddo. The one we know and love and is actually eager to go back to school.

Despite knowing he is in a much better educational placement, I still can’t help but feel anxious. I’m trying to hide it from Kiddo. I’m putting on a show of “Yay! School!!” but inside I am still freaking out. He went happily on the bus and according to the teacher it was a great first day. I’m just hoping it stays that way.

I’m just hoping it’s a better year too.

Sorry, I have no picture of me dancing in the street singing “Brand New Day” from The Wiz.

This post originally appeared on Autism with a Side of Fries. It has been reprinted with permission.

Eileen “Mama Fry” Shaklee says “Autism is a trip I didn’t plan on, but I sure do love my tour guide. It’s better to laugh than to cry, mainly because I got distracted by the free samples at Costco and forgot to buy tissues.” You can join this one mom’s adventure with a side of sarcasm (and fries) on my blog, Autism With a Side of Fries or on Facebook and Twitter.

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