The word “school” brings up all kinds of thoughts and emotions, doesn’t it? School is out here for the summer now. The girls last day was Thursday and JT’s last day was Friday. They actually go to school in two different school districts. The buildings are side by side and I never knew they were different in any way until the last of school.

I’ve dreaded this end to school. The end of any time to myself, with the house quiet. It’s so different being here than in my own home. Being gramma compared to being momma. Having my own one child to tend and caring for my three beautiful grandchildren. So different.

I’m not normally this self-centered. At least I don’t think I am. But I’ve been here 2 months. I can’t leave the base on my own and just go do what I want to do in my “free” time. I can’t go shopping on base. I’m basically stuck here taking care of the kids (which I do love) until my son is free to do something that I can participate in. You see, on a military base, you need to be active duty military or a dependent to get an I.D. card which allows you the freedom to leave and return and to shop on base. It allows for other things too, such as medical care, but I don’t want or need that. Since I can’t do the things that most of the base can do, I don’t go anywhere without my son present. Don’t want any trouble. I’ve been here longer than a normal visit due to the circumstances of my visit. The passing of my daughter-in-law.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I’ve dreaded the thought of the kids being out of school so that I don’t have any time to myself. What I never thought of was how it was going to affect JT. You see, he was in kindergarten this year and he hated it. He’s autistic. I think he has Asperger’s Syndrome. We were never told where on the autisim spectrum JT is. His first teacher, this year, was not at all sympathetic to him that I ever saw. To be fair to her, she had over 20 children in her class and he was a big handful and quite disruptive. I don’t really know why he was put into a mainstream class at that point, but he was and she was not prepared for it in the least. He was in the class way too long. His mother was quite ill also, so he missed a lot of school and I do mean a lot. His school day lasted half a day and was not required in CA so if she didn’t feel like taking him, she didn’t. Which did nothing to help him in the least.

By the time his mother had passed, his first teacher was fed up and called for a meeting with the principal, his father and the special ed teacher for kindergarten. It was decided on the spot that JT would be moved to special ed the next day. I’m sure his first teacher did a happy dance all the way home that night. I can’t say I blame her, but I don’t hold a lot of love for her either. In my opinion, she did nothing to help him and didn’t even show him any kindness after losing his mother at the age of six. But that’s just my opinion and I don’t know her side and I was never in her classroom.

I can’t begin to tell you the difference the special ed teachers made in JT’s life! They were caring, patient and compassionate. They knew all he’d been through and treated him with respect. They admired his intelligence. They praised him, set boundaries, had punishments for bad behavior and rewarded good behavior. JT started to love school and his teachers. He ran to them every single morning, excited to face the days challenges. On weekends and the one time he was sick, he asked to go to school! That should have clued me in to the summer ahead. He’s already asked me about 7 times if he can go to school today. And cried when I told him no, that it’s summer vacation and he won’t go to school for many, many, many days. This is going to be a long summer, no matter how much longer I’m here.

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