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Alex's First Day of Middle School

This post is by Deirdre Legge, Greater Boston sub-committee chair for Community, Education, and Awareness and proud mother of Alex.

My son started middle school today and well, I am happy to report I survived. So many emotions swirled around me.

There was abject fear, denial, boat loads of uncertainty and complete and utter insanity. And this was just the beginning of the journey…at Wal*Mart getting school supplies. I don’t ever remember my parents going through any kind of school supply shopping hell.  When we were kids we just showed up at the bus stop with a shiny new outfit and lunchbox, needing only to cover our books with brown paper bags.  But I digress…

Ah middle school…I have been dreading this transition since Alex started Kindergarten. Transitions can be hard for my son. I’ve come to the harsh realization that he got that from me. He usually does fine (with him asking a lot of questions and our preparing him extensively on what to expect) and I fall apart.

I remember sobbing as he graduated from pre-school, clinging to Alex’s BCBA for dear life. It seems like that was a 6 months ago but alas, it was 6 years ago. How did that happen?

Abject fear….will the kids be nice, accepting and welcoming? Will there be bullies? Will the “in” kids act nice to Alex then turn around and make fun of him?  Will they tease him because of his lack of fluent speech and stuttering?

Denial…I am far too young to have a middle schooler (wink, wink).  Can’t he just stay at elementary school for a few more years, say until high school graduation?

Boat loads of uncertainty…will Alex be able to keep up? Will his educational gap continue to widen from his peers with his multi-layered, atypical and complex learning disabilities? Did we make the right choice of placement having Alex go to his neighborhood school (for the 1st time) versus the ASD program at the middle school across town where most of the kids he’s known since integrated pre-school are going? Will Alex make new friends…meaningful, lasting and fulfilling friendships?

Should I walk him to school on the first day or let him spread his wings without Mommy in tow?

There is one thing I know for certain. Alex will courageously spread his wings and be successful, challenged yet supported every step of the way.  He will and always has learned and developed at his pace. Not mine, not his peers…and in his own way.

Alex’s first steps to the middle school were on his own as we watched him walk away from us, starting what we know will be his next successful journey.  Alex’s was nervous but he enjoyed his first day, and all went well!! Piece of cake!

And as always, we delight and triumph in his every success, be it monumental or small, with pride bursting from our seams.

And lastly, utter insanity…my sanity has gone missing. Has anyone seen it? Must put out an APB on it because I’m already stressing over the transition to High School. God help me.