The Rest of the Story

Sorry to leave y’all hanging, but between the time I had the meeting at Spiff’s school and now, there have been many changes going on with me. But the story is bubbling up and waiting to be told, so I have to share it. Right now.

It never fails. Every time I get that call, or that email, or that handwritten note home in an Agenda, the feeling of dread rushes over me like a tidal wave. What NOW? I think, already knowing the answer deep down inside. Will I have to get belligerent?, I wonder as I ask for more time from work to go sort out problems I had thought I had prepared them for during one of my many IEP meetings.

Then I remember this is a new school, a new team. New teachers. New support staff. New everything.

And then I panic. Because I don’t know what they are going to say. Will they tell me he is nothing but a disruption in their classroom? (it has happened) Will they tell me that You know, ma’am, Spiff really doesn’t belong in mainstream education and you should really think about looking into alternative schools. (that thought can keep me awake at night)

So while I can be his advocate, I’m also his parent. I’m also scared.

I sit at a long table, and it seems like every other chair has a body in it. In front of them are small piles of papers. Others have file folders; and another has a computer open and she is typing feverishly to keep up as the meeting begins. All look at me intently, ready to begin.

I hold my breath as the first person begins to speak.

At first I think I don’t hear her correctly. I ask her to repeat what she said. I quietly will my heart to stop pounding so loudly in my ears so I can actually hear what she is saying.

Mrs. K, Spiff is a joy to have in my class. He’s right where he belongs.

I exhale. The room comes back into focus. I thank her and can actually open my mouth to speak.

We discuss his schoolwork. His fire drill issues. One of his teachers feels that he is depending a little too much on his aide. We discuss it further and discuss why she feels that way. We tweak her thinking and remind her why the aide is there in the first place. I see a light of understanding go on, but I know this will come up again. This teacher will not let it go. This isn’t the first time that has happened.

As we wrap up the meeting, I always thank everyone there. I appreciate what they are doing for my son, and the children that will come after him with varying issues. The lessons learned working with Spiff aren’t taught in Education classrooms, this is Real Time Learning. They thank me for being so involved. I remind them I am a phone call, a text, an email away at any time, day or night. A small voice in my head quietly asks if I will always have to say that to people Spiff works with.

I head out into the hallway. Shake hands. As I turn the corner with Spiff’s Aide, a man further down the hallway comes into view. Spiff’s Aide waves to him and he comes toward me. She introduces him as Spiff’s science teacher, and when he realizes I am Spiff’s mom, he cracks the biggest grin, takes my hand and looks into my eyes and says;

“Thank you for allowing me to teach your son. He is so amazing. I’m blessed to know him.”

And now? I am stunned speechless. I croak out a “Thank You” as he elaborates on the wonderfulness that is my son. How he gets him. How the kids all love him and are impressed with him. How he is learning just as much from Spiff as Spiff is learning from him in class.

As I walk out into the blazing Florida sun to my car, I can no longer hold back the tears. Silent, wet, but grateful tears that dry almost as soon as they fall down my cheeks.

I have never had a meeting for Spiff go so well or feel so amazing. I have never felt more proud of my son.

All I do is advocate. He does the rest.

And it is nice sometimes to be reminded just how well he does it.

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