I think it’s safe to say that the thing I lacked most as a child, was normal childhood experiences. This is where you tell me that “normal” is relative, and I agree with you. HOWEVER, the abnormal in my memories outweighs the normal to society. There are things that we would consider group activities right? Like in a public school, things you do with your class. Graduating with a large group in high school. That type of thing. I hear it, when I tell other people that I haven’t experienced something. Their reaction: “what? You didn’t read that book? EVERYONE read that book!” I’m used to hearing it by now, and I’m okay with it.
A goal that I have had for my children is to allow them to be integrated into the general population so that they may have as many normal experiences as possible. I didn’t want them to miss out on everything that I did. SO FUNNY right? Because I didn’t realize there is no way that I can control what they do and don’t experience. To add to that, my middle child is Autistic. He often has difficulty in situations that may be overstimulating to him mentally. He is not in a general education classroom, so he does miss out on a lot of things that other students are experiencing. He is in a room called “extended resource”. A class with nine kids in grades K-2.
I am writing this because it is the end of the school year. And I’m seeing friends posting on Facebook about “field day” and “kindergarten graduation”. I find myself upset because my child doesn’t get that celebration. Even if his class of nine kids did have it, who knows if he would participate. My child, for the past two weeks, has refused all school work and activities. He chooses to sit under his desk all day or in a box. The teachers don’t know how to help him so he stays there. We tried a few things to help him but in the end we let the school year fizzle to the finish.
I took the boys out of school last month and went camping with them. I gathered homework from teachers so they wouldn’t fall behind in studies. I found that they loved being able to play, then work, then play again in the dirt. I dream of the life where we can be barefoot all day, doing our reading and math with dirty toes and happy minds.
Do I long for seclusion because that is familiar and therefore comforts me when faced with difficulty? Probably. So for now we keep the path, advocate for our little ones, and look forward to the next romp in bare feet.