And just like that, it’s July 28th. School starts in just over a week and I find myself wondering what parents of neurotypical kids worry about in anticipation of the new school year. I don’t want to appear to be feeling sorry for myself, I just see my concerns being vastly different between Parker and Hadley starting kindergarten. Yesterday Parker asked, “Will I be the only kid in kindergarten who studies genetics?”
Yes, honey. You’ll probably be the only one. That question made me realize how it must feel for him. He’s the same size, the same age, enjoys Paw Patrol and swimming. But Parker’s jam is learning. Learning the obscure. His language is letters and numbers and codes and sequences. I see him struggling to interact with kids in a way that makes sense to both of them. I don’t worry that he won’t be able to master letters and numbers and shapes and reading. He did those things years ago. I worry that he won’t eat or drink at lunch. I worry that he will misinterpret his body’s signals and have an accident. I worry that he won’t be able to get his shoes on or off, or that he won’t be able to get his pants pulled down and up in the restroom. I worry that a peer will make fun of him for his little-professor way of speaking. I worry that his well-meaning propensity to hug peers will be overwhelming and cause them to avoid him. I worry that he will have a meltdown and be sent to the nurses office again because his teachers aren’t accustomed to autistic children and their sensory difficulties.
But this boy, he has a lot going for him. He has a smile that lights up the room. A laugh that rings through the house. He’s sensitive and he has a tremendous social drive. He loves hugs and kisses and snuggling and showing me all the things that speak to him- like bird and insect genetics.
He’ll never be like Hadley. And Hadley will never be like Parker. But I’m blessed and I feel undeservedly fortunate to be Mama to two such vastly different little people.