I wrote this blog ten years ago that has to do with my son Hank, and what freedom sometimes looks like.
One of the many things that I was afraid of when Hank was little was putting him on a bus. The thought of that giant yellow vehicle swallowing him up and driving away with him scared the living daylights out of me. Therefore that child’s first ride didn’t happen until he was in first grade.
This may seem like a somewhat natural age for many children to start riding a bus, but Hank’s teachers were trying to convince me to let him take that ride ever since he was three years old and in pre-school. There was no way I was putting my three year old baby on a bus and watching him ride off into the sunset…or sunrise. Just absolutely no way.
Now mind you here is a mother who never, ever intended for her child to even attend preschool. My plan was to have my son home with me throughout his baby and toddler days. We would go to the mall, visit Grandma and Grandpa, play on the playground. I would bring him to visit my sisters, or just stay home doing all of the things that Mom’s and small children do. We would draw and play with play dough. He would grow to ask me questions and I would answer them. My little one and I would have this precious time together, he in the grocery cart and me at the helm, until it was time for him to go to kindergarten. But God had a different plan.
Hank and I spent most of our days either in speech, occupational and physical therapy or doing carry over therapy at home. They were spent with specialists in orthopedics, ENT, urology, and gastroenterology. And after three years of early intervention services at the E. John Gavras Center in Auburn, NY it was time for pre-school at the Jowonio School in Syracuse, NY. As hard as it was for me to admit, I could not give this not so average little bear all that he needed at home. But no, he was not getting on that bus….no way…no how.
I am so grateful for the patience of Hank’s teachers and therapists at the Gavras Center and Jowonio. Although I know they would have wanted me to pull back sooner than I was able to in many areas with Hank, I always felt their respect and understanding. They had a way of gently nudging me, suggesting, encouraging. They stood with me while I found a blend of trusting my own instincts…and trusting theirs. They walked with me step by step, one day at a time.
And thankfully I finally did let Hank ride the bus. I was always very obsessive about making sure that he was safe, but I tell you I don’t think there was ever a happier bus-rider. Hank loved riding the bus so much that he would scream and yell when he saw a bus on the street because he couldn’t be on it. I suppose it was his first taste of freedom and he savored every second of it.
Almost twenty-three years later I am still living life with my boy step by step and one day at a time. I am thankful to know that this is the only way I can do my life well. If I stay spiritually connected I am guided to the next step, the next bit. And if that step or bit takes a little longer than some might hope for, that’s okay….I’ll get there.
Thank you Hank for teaching me that. You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.