I've probably hit you over the head with that Jack is going to a new school... you're probably tired of hearing about that. Yep, Jaye, we get it. Transitions are tough. So, today, I give you an entirely different and self-indulgent blog. I'm going to let you in on a little secret...
Transitions are tough on parents, too!
My wife and I met with Jack's teacher, his RSP teacher, and the school principal on Friday afternoon. It was great. Everyone was really nice and seems interested and excited to have have Jack start on Monday. But, as we were leaving, I couldn't shake the feeling that transferring schools was a mistake. I was looking at every little thing at the new school as a potential pitfall. And then my beautiful, intelligent and insightful wife said it.
"You'll do fine"
Yeah. She was right. I have to transition to a new school, too. I had become accustomed to the old school. I knew the IEP team well, saw them every day. I knew Jack's teacher(s). I knew the other kids, and their parents. I never had to explain anything anymore. I had my "wolfpack" (the other Stay at home Dads I had befriended over the years). I had my morning coffee friend.
I had my routine.
And now there is the chaos of the unknown. Do dudes hang out at this school? I only know three families here! I still have to walk Jack in, where the heck do I park? The 7-11 is almost two blocks away and that's the closest coffee, for cryin' out loud.
So, last night, my family is in town visiting to go to Disneyland today, and we had a BBQ at our house. Sounds routine and comfortable enough, right? 14 people... six kids and eight adults... all who know me well and who know Jack well.
But, for some reason or another, Jack was not having a very good day. Sometime around the start of dinner, I took him for a drive to escape his personal mayhem. We went to the aforementioned 7-11 (a convenience store for those international readers) to grab a soda and I drove him by the new school one last time in the hopes of familiarizing him...
And there was a bake sale! So we went to the front lawn to meet the PTA, the Foundation, and some other parents and kids.
And I bumped into one of the moms from the three previously mentioned families I knew there. This family used to live across the street from us, and moved about a year or so ago and have a son Jack's age that I knew went to the new school. Anyway, I saw Rachel (the mom) at the Bake Sale and said hello. She could not have been nicer. She had weighed in on the last blog I wrote (This one) and said she looked forward to seeing us at the new school. She told me, among other things, this. "This is a really good school. You're going to be really happy here".
And that's all I needed to hear. On a disappointing side note, Rachel is a party-planner/caterer/lifestyle guru and all of the baked goods she had brought to the bake sale had already been sold. Damnit! I would have liked one of those.
I had bumped into one of the families I knew. A family I admire. A family I adore. And they gave me their blessing. The second family I knew (and their daughter) was back at the BBQ, so I had already received their welcome.
This morning I took Jack to the new school for the first time. I realized how nervous I was, but I brought my secret weapon, my calling-card for conversations, my rock... my wife!
This post isn't about Jack, so I'll simply say the drop-off went fine... better than fine, it was good.
There was a coffee and donuts event for the parents in the cafeteria. We went. And I bumped into the third family I know. She has a son at the new school on the spectrum. We share a time at the OT clinic, so I have spoken to her many times in the last two years. She came over and sat with my wife and I and was happy to see us. She said what I needed to hear, again, "this is a really good school. I think you'll be very happy here".
Then, something very cool happened. A husband and wife came over to our table. The lady said "you came over from White Elementary, right? I've seen you around there." She turned to her husband "This guy writes the blog I was telling you about."
How the heck did she know that?
They were a new family at the new school, too. Could not have been nicer.
So I left feeling happy. I left feeling welcome. I left feeling assured, and I left feeling, most importantly, optimistic.
This may sound funny, but I can't express enough how grateful I am to have such a kick-ass wife. She's really just a lot cooler than I am, and can throw herself into any conversation with ease. Thanks, Baby Love.
Transitions are tough on our kids. They're tough on us, too.
I, too, embrace the comfort of routine.
It's 1 o'clock now and school gets out at 2. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go a little early and see if I can make a friend.
Thank you, as always, for reading.
Jack and I on OUR first day at the new school.