Yesterday was the boy’s first day back to school. I’d like to say it’s been a long and enjoyable summer but, in truth, I had only a measly 3 weeks with the boys out of school. And, while I enjoyed and made the best of that time, the restart was a little… premature… unwelcome??? For me anyway. But, for the boys, it was still appropriately exciting. They were thrilled that they were going to see their teachers and friends again…
Uh oh. That was last year’s teacher. “No No Brian. You’ll be able to say hello to Toni. But, this year your teacher is going to be Sharon. SHHHH… AAAAH…. RON!”
Prepared for an upset, we arrived at the school amidst their excited rant about seeing Toni as well as Jolly and Jene, their classroom aides, and Ala, their friend and former classmate… FROM LAST YEAR (which ended all of 3 weeks ago). Out of the car, down the steps, through the atrium to the NEW door on the right (not our old door on the left… FROM LAST YEAR) all to the backdrop hum of “Toni, Toni, Toni!”
I noticed Steve Hernandez, the Education Director, meandering through the atrium welcoming students and parents back, impeccably dressed with a super-cool-for-kids necktie, as always. As he approached, I reminded the boys to say hello. They gladly obliged in a Blues Clues sort of way…. “HI STEEEEEEEEVE!” Steve immediately reached down to greet them with his usual high-fives and hand shakes after which Brian excitedly pointed to his feet and announced, “NEW SHOES”. Now, my boys are aware that their articulation is less than understandable most of the time. So, for that split second, the 3 of us held our breaths waiting to see if Steve understood. With a great big, high-pitched voice, Steve responded with utter excitement, “Oh COOOL! ME TOO!” and pointed down at his own brand new, dress-up shoes.
That moment — their moment! — was AWESOME! Brian recognized instantly that Steve understood him. And I KNEW instantly that it was going to be a great year for my boys.
Brian and Michael marched purposefully — triumphantly understood — down the hall to where their new teacher — not Toni — stood waiting at the open door of a huge and wonderfully well-stocked classroom. By way of introduction I said to the boys, “This is your new teacher, Ssshhh-aah-ron.” As she knelt down to say hello, unprompted, both boys gave her a big and simultaneous hug — it may have been a ploy to get a peak over her shoulder at the various toys and children scattered about the room behind her — and then both said, “Hi Aaaah-Ron” before they ran in to play cooperatively with their new classmates.
Funny… they both skipped the “Shhh” part of her name (a sound they know and can produce)…. I hope that’s not foreshadowing! LOL.
This is dedicated Steve, Sharon, Toni, Jolly, Jene and all those who dedicate their lives to educating children with special needs. God bless them for their patience and for their loving attention to my boys.