For several weeks I noticed that Rhema’s teacher was wearing a baseball cap. The first time I saw it I thought, Oh shoot is it baseball week or something and I missed the memo? But week after week I’d see the caps.
I know Rhema loves her teacher Amy. She’s even learned to say Amy’s name quite well. Once Amy came to the gym with us for Special Olympics, and Rhema was having a rough time. She also had a runny, runny nose. Poor Amy was chasing her around the gym with big wads of snotty tissue in her hands, and she got snot-slimed more than anyone on the planet ever has. Besides me, of course.
Anyway… at school… when Amy would come to get Rhema in the morning her beautiful long hair would be tucked into a baseball cap. The cap just didn’t seem to go with her outfit.
But since she’s so great, I would always forgive her daily fashion faux pas.
Days later one of her teachers happily reported that Rhema’s grabbing (people’s clothes) and hair-pulling seemed to be decreasing.
“Also, we find that when wearing hats and caps on our heads she’s not yanking hair as much.”
So. Now my kid has managed to change the staff dress code.
Dear teachers, thank you so much and I’m sorry so much!
I got in the car and all I could do was laugh. Once upon a time my parenting dreams were filled with dancing gold stars and A plus plusses in conduct and perfect spelling tests and teacher’s pet. Never could I have imagined… this.
Oh, the autism pendulum that swings us from exhaustion, frustration, embarrassment to overwhelming joy and pride; from emotional drama to sheer comedy. Sometimes, all within one minute. It’s good to laugh, and my offspring give me plenty reason.
Last Friday at pick-up, Amy met me at the door with Rhema. Yep, she had her cap on.
She was excited to show me pictures they’d snapped during the day of Rhema’s writing.
My girl. She and her teachers have worked so hard for so long. And every now and then, there are these perfect moments when it all just comes together like a 2-piece puzzle. In the midst of the grabbing, hair-pulling, humming, brain spiking 31 times a minute, she writes her name, unassisted.
Once there was this.
And then there was ‘She may never learn to write. Let’s teach her to use a stamp with her name on it instead.’
Now there’s this.
And even this.
Better than my best dreams.
And all I can do is laugh. And cheer. And let the wonder and gratitude burst from my heart.
On the day my daughter was diagnosed with autism I got a gift. I got the gift of seeing God do abundantly more than I could ever think or imagine, over and over again, for the rest of her life. I got the gift of uncommon, huge joy in “ordinary” miracles. I got the gift of cherishing every big-little healing step.
***Several months ago, Amy wrote to me: ‘I am so proud of your Rhema every day. I see her eyes get wide with understanding, I hear her try new words, and watch as she follows a new direction for the first time with the same accuracy as if she had done it a million times before. I can’t believe how much she has grown these last few years and I am so thankful to be a part of her learning and growing.’
Thank you, Amy. Every time I see you in your baseball cap I thank God for you.