The Golden Ticket.


First grade tomorrow {insert all of the emoji’s here}!!! This summer has been so all consuming that first grade kind of snuck up on us! This is our 4th year of school for Liam, and if I’m being honest with myself, every year is a big deal that brings its own bag of questions, hopes and fears…but first grade?! It feels pretty major.

I wasn’t able to attend the first grade orientation last night, so I went in today to meet Liam’s teacher and bring in his school supplies so I could survey his room and get a feel for where Liam would be learning for the year. As a mom with a kid who has autism, you pray really hard, you hope really hard, and you sprinkle all the good vibes around really well for a teacher that you can partner with. Partnership is The Golden Ticket when it comes to most things, but especially as it relates to Liam and his education. Matt and I can’t do it on our own, and his teacher’s can’t do it on their own. All that to say, when I met Mrs. Bennett {see: Msr. Bennett}, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that she had The Golden Ticket in hand.

As we began to talk about Liam and first grade, I asked benign, but what could be annoying questions. Questions about snack time, desk position and schedules, which can feel a bit pushy to me to be asking for information that doesn’t necessarily matter to me as a parent, but for someone on the spectrum, these questions matter. They can make or break Liam’s education, and so I ask all the questions. After my questions and concerns were expressed, Mrs. Bennett then met me with the question that I love the most: “I know about the spectrum, but I don’t know about Liam.”. I could have hugged her right then. The Golden Ticket. She gets it without even one class period. Without even observing Liam, she already understands that not one child with autism is the same. I told her that Matt and I had planned to email her a list of Liam’s strengths and quirks so that she could understand how he moves through the world and she was eager for the information. She wasn’t scared of his diagnosis, she wanted to LEARN. The Golden Ticket.

All Matt and I desire and pray for as it relates to Liam’s education is partnership with those in Liam’s world to assist us in setting him up for success. We can’t do it alone. We are his parents and advocates, we are not his teachers, therapists, or paraprofessionals. We have to both stand back on the sidelines and watch, and advocate fiercely for the aids to his success. It’s such a fine dance that we desire partners, not a fight.  And we are quite certain those prayers were answered for Liam’s first grade year, and for that we are so grateful.

Dear Liam the Brave,

FIRST GRADE!!!! Buddy, you’ve grown so much this summer and we are so proud of you as you adapt and learn about the world around you. We want you to bring YOU to the world, and we want to help you learn everything you should and everything you want to about all of the things. We are so excited that Mrs. Bennett will teach you for your first grade year, we know you’re going to love it!  Msr. Lang will be with you again to help you learn the ins and outs, as she was last year and we are so thankful that you will have familiar friendship faces in the classroom. You’re going to read stories that take you places, and learn math that helps you sort and build ideas. Daddy and I know you have so many ideas in your mind swirling already, and we are confident that the first grade will unpack them in a new way. It’s hard to imagine how we could be more proud of you than we already are, but we know that in 9 months, you will blow all of our minds once again. You are our brave son, and we love you to the moon and back.

Here’s to your first grade year, buddy. xo

Daddy, Mommy & Molly


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