Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Typing the title of this post, my eyes are filled with tears.
I remember the first time I saw my little guy.  I had started subbing for the school district to earn money to pay for biomedical treatment for my own son with autism.  Some kids intrigue me.  He was the first.
I started subbing almost exclusively at the school in town where they send all the autistic students.  I took every job I could with them and loved every minute of it.
Not long into the school year, I was offered a long-term sub job for this little blonde autistic boy.  We were destined to be best friends.
That was kindergarten, and I was lucky enough for that long-term sub position to turn into full-time employment and that is where I've been....he and I together for close to five years.
Thursday, I had to say good-bye.
My family is moving to the other side of the country.  My husband had a job at the base here, but when the contract ended, he looked for work in the area for 15 months.  His unemployment ran out in January, so he went to live with his parents to look for work there.  Finally, in March he was hired.
It's been a tough road trying to support a family on an Educational Assistant's salary.  Not to mention, we all have allergies, gut issues and immune dysfunctions, so our food and medical costs are higher than most.  God helped us make it through, but at this point the only thing for our family to do to survive is to be together.  We simply can't afford to live apart, and the boys miss their dad.
Leaving is breaking my heart.
The last day of school was torture.  I had to fight back tears all day, and I am not a weepy person.  I have been through a lot in my life, a lot of struggle and pain and unfairness.  I don't get worked up often.  I couldn't control it as hard as I tried.  I swallowed over and over and over to keep the tears from falling.  I breathed in and out and in and out counting the breaths.  All I could think in my mind was how he wouldn't understand why I wasn't there.  He was going to think I abandoned him.  I will disappear.
All the "lasts" got to me.  The worst was the end of the day bathroom time.  Sounds ridiculous, I know, how could taking the child to the bathroom be the saddest moment?
I thought back to those first days.  Those first days where I looked at him and knew he didn't need diapers.  I looked into those adorable brown eyes and I saw his potential.  He was smart.  He could learn...and we were going to tackle potty-training together.
I thought about all the times he would get so mad at me.  He would be so frustrated that I wanted him to sit on the potty and he didn't want to.  I was patient and waited for him to be calm and sit for just a few minutes.    
I knew once he got past his fear he would be able to accomplish it.  I wanted him to know I would be there for him and he didn't need to worry.  I told him it was going to be o.k.
And now, there is no struggle, no diapers, no pull-ups, no accidents and there hasn't been in years.  He is so brave, he even uses all bathrooms on outings....even outhouses.
And on our last day together, as I am helping him button his shorts, he puts his little hands on my cheeks and leans in to give me a quick kiss next to my nose.  He laughs and claps his hands together in his unique non-verbal way.
I want to hold him and cry for hours.  I want him to know how special he is to me and if I had it my way, I would never leave him.
I think he knew something was wrong.  I think that time he was telling ME, everything was going to be o.k.
My dear sweet boy, you will forever be in my heart.