Hello 12th grade

Tony and I have had a ritual for the past 12 years.  Every August we start preparing for the first day of school.  When Tony was 6 – and not quite verbal – we started reading a book called “Hello 1st Grade”.  It told a story of a little boy moving on to 1st grade and all the new adventures he’d encounter.  For some reason, it stuck and every year towards the end of summer, we start saying “Hello 2nd grade!”, “Hello 3rd grade!” – you get the idea. 

This year was no exception.  Tony started to say, “Hello 12th grade!” – and then he smiled….  “Next year, Hello college?”  My heart ached.  We’ve had this ‘conversation’ before.  Three years ago, while touring a college in northern MN with his older brother, Tony announced in the car “Tony college Sept. 2011!”  Everyone in the car gasped… we had never even considered that he understood what the next step would be…  we all looked at each other with a sadness and a realization that he would never know that reality.  So ever since, we talk about Tony’s “college” being in his home town and he can live with Mom and Dad.  He seems okay with that for now. 

So far school is going good.  He has a shortened day and it seems to be a good fit.  Kelly still comes to hang with Tony weekly. They had a great summer together.  Kelly is fearless and we really love that about her.  She takes him everywhere – swimming, to pet stores, thrift stores, the library, shopping, malls, restaurants, to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, to farmer’s markets, apple farms and flower gardens.  He really seems to have grown this summer.  Hopefully we’ve turned the corner on puberty, hormones, and mood swings.  One can hope.  

Tony and Kelly

As I reflect on Tony’s years through the school system, I often wonder if we have even tapped into his knowledge potential.  He just doesn’t learn the way others do.  I believe he’s like a computer and we have to find the ‘back door’ approach to see what really lies behind that main screen.  Maybe then we can finally speak the same language… and he can introduce me to his world.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a beautiful read!

  2. wow…leaves you wondering. What an amazing young man!


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