My father and I went down to see Jonah today. Armed with lunch, a couple of DVDs, a bag of toys and books for Jonah’s house, and one last donation to the upcoming fundraiser gala, dad and I set forth. We talk easier than ever before, and share stories, and if the talk gets heated, or charged with emotion, it is okay. It was not always okay, but it is now. Now my relationship with my father is very good. We chatted the whole way down and arrived just a few minutes before noon.
And so I give you this week’s “black soda” face, complete with crumb-on-lip:
And, of course, Jonah’s chosen swing:
“Mommy push?” He asked, grinning.
I think his caregivers and teachers call me mommy, so that’s what he calls me now. I still slipped and said mama, but I can get behind mommy – it’s a ‘nomenclature graduation’ of sorts.
His school encourages as much independence as possible, and they’re right to do so. It was too easy for me to continue to talk to him (and treat him) more like a baby than a nine-year-old kid. At his new school he helps do his own laundry, is almost completely potty trained already, and can attend to tasks in the classroom. They really seem to like him. It feels good, especially when they tell me about it. His teacher wrote to me, in part:
“Jonah’s been doing very well adjusting to the classroom and staff…we all enjoy his presence a great deal. He’s a lot of fun to have in the classroom and VERY bright! Yesterday was the first day we had some aggression since we’ve been back!!
When we do group work, most of the time, he sits well and seems to enjoy the lessons. We’re all still learning so much about him and part of that is realizing when he needs to take a break from work.
Although he can sit and work with us for a while, there are times when he will get teary and asks all done work? So now, we’re trying to figure out when he needs a break before he gets to that point.
When he does get a break, he is always good about coming back to the table and finishing the lesson.
I can’t stress enough how much we all enjoy having him in the classroom!”
This was great to hear, aside from the aggression; I enthusiastically forwarded her message to Andy.
I’m glad to know they are trying hard to understand what makes him tick. I’m so happy when I get to see him — and I kiss, inhale, hug, hold him as tight as he’ll allow it – to carry with me until I can see him again.
It was hot on the playground today. After we had our lunch at the picnic table, we went to the swing set and had fun together, Jonah wanting to stay on his favorite swing. Mommy push. And push and push and push, higher and higher, singing Guster and pushing, Jonah sailing high in the summer-like sun. Finally I snuck away to the shade and Pa kept him smiling:
One of his caregivers came out and said the best way to transition him when we leave is to go back inside the house with him. It sounded reasonable to us, so this time when it was time to go, we said goodbye in Jonah’s room and then a careworker moved in and engaged him as we walked out. Quickly. Trying not to look back.
(Ripping the band aid off, as it turns out, was much easier than tearing it bit by bit).
On the drive back, my dad insisted on filling up my gas tank, even though I didn’t really need it yet. Now that he’s gone and I’m home and it’s hours later, I’m reflecting on him and how, even when I’ve been mad at him, I’ve had to admit he’s a man of integrity.
An earnest, hard-working, genuine man. A secret-keeper. History lover. A man with a work ethic. A saver. A man with an inner moral compass always pointing in the right direction – who’d always stop and defend another against hurt or hate. Proud of his ancestry and family history. A man who’d help you move and never take a dime for doing it.
A man who believes in giving people a chance and, if need be, a leg up. He roots for the underdog and wants always to do the right thing. When he says just try your best, he means it. I think because he always tried his best.
He always tried.
If I had to pick a song to express him, inasmuch as you can ever encapsulate a person that way, I’d pick “Something Wonderful” from The King and I.
“This is a man who thinks with his heart,
His heart is not always wise.
This is a man who stumbles and falls,
But this is a man who tries.
This is a man you’ll forgive and forgive,
And help protect, as long as you live…
He will not always say
What you would have him say,
But now and then he’ll do
He has a thousand dreams
That won’t come true,
You know that he believes in them
And that’s enough for you…”
I’m grateful to have such a man as a father, and as a grandfather for my
little Boo sweet boy.
I love them both very much.