Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From College to Kindergarten

Last night, we said goodbye to my niece. She leaves on Friday for college, so we had our last Sunday dinner with the whole family. We are very fortunate to have two bright, beautiful and extremely talented nieces who graduated from high school this year and are starting the next chapters in their lives by heading off to college. While I am thrilled for both of them, it was a bittersweet moment for me. Not just because the Omaha niece has acted as the only babysitter that David has ever known in his soon to be six years of life. Not just because she graciously tolerates all of the emotional outbursts—mine and, yes, David's too. I think I was just a bit sad wondering if I will ever be sending David off to college. Will there be a time when we are anxiously waiting to hear from his roommate? Will we be running to Target for the 17th time to get that one last necessity? Will I be packing the car, making sure that I have brought a box of Kleenex for the drive home?

I suppose, for the moment I cannot worry about David and college. David works extremely hard, but I now realize that I am the one getting an education and not just an education in autism. David has taught me to appreciate each step of this process. Without autism, I might not have noticed the first time that David called me by name, or told me that he loved me, or asked for a marshmallow. Without autism, I might not have noticed that an airplane flew over our house this morning while we waited for the bus. Without autism, I might not spend fifteen minutes each morning before school reading to David because I would probably feel like I have better things to do. Without autism, I might not be able to tell when David really is excited about something, or moved by a particular piece of music, or just happy that I have picked him up from school.

David has made great strides and I am confident that one day, he will probably make it to college, but for now, I'll concentrate on Kindergarten.


  1. Living in today is the only way to go. As my son gets older, we are coming to grips as to what his limitations are. Even though he will probably not go to college, I still fund the 529 plan. But we don't spend too much time worrying about the future. Autism has taught us to take pleasure when it is given to us. The future tends to work itself out. One way or another.

  2. I too think about college, even though it is years and years away. I wonder if by then they will have an autism curriculum or autism-specific college programs. Hopefully the sheer volume of our kids will force that, but who knows. Maybe Target will carry Temple Grandin's squeeze machine by then along with the mini-fridges and dorm organizers.