Monday, June 2, 2014
Last Friday, the 5th graders at our school held their annual Awards Day. A small miracle occurred that day.
To explain the miracle, I must go back to my experiences of school and George. I learned quickly with George that he never wanted me to show up at school. George never invited me to school for things like sharing a birthday lunch, coming to Field Day, or even stopping in for presentations. All of those stop-ins are very common for me and all the other kids. In fact, I had lunch in the high school last year with Eleanor and her friends. Yes, I sat at a table and pulled out a sack lunch and enjoyed lunch with Eleanor - although a few of her friends slept through lunch - not sure it was because of our thrilling conversation or because they were teenage girls and just wanted to sleep through lunch. Regardless, most of my children not only like when I come to school, but actually LOVE it.
If he sees me in the halls, he looks the other way. If he is outside on the playground when I drive into the parking lot, he quickly runs on the opposite direction. When we have assemblies, or concerts, or plays, George doesn't scan the audience looking for the familiar face of his mom and wave - no - George looks down with a scowl on his face.
For 5 years, I have tried to work with George on this, and have agreed to not attend things he is in and to not come have lunch with him and to not wave to him if I see him on the playground when I get to school. He was very happy with that agreement. And silently, my heart broke.
Friday, we experienced a miracle.
We knew George would probably not receive any awards at Awards Day. After all, the school was looking to recognize those children who had great attitudes, were kind to their classmates, and worked hard to get great grades. None of those categories would find George qualifying. He simply has far to go in all of those areas. But, I did think, maybe he would get an Attendance Award. For the days leading up to the Awards Day, I scanned my memory bank to see if there were any days George needed to stay home. I just couldn't think of any - but that didn't mean that one or two might have slipped my memory.
There was a moment of thinking, "Why should I bother to go? George will just ignore me again. And I will sit there looking at the child scowling on the stage, embarrassed by his behavior all the while feeling my heart break because George just won't let me love him through this moment." Joe even had the same thoughts and we questioned whether or not one of us should go - not to mention BOTH of us going.
But, I heard the still, small voice of the Lord who said, "Go."
So, I went. In fact, God told Joe to go, too. And we sat in the last row on the far side of the cafeteria, allowing all the doting parents with their cameras and iPhones to sit closer to the stage. I wanted to let THEM get pictures of their kids getting awards and smiling proudly back at their parents as mom and dad stood to snap a shot. We wouldn't need to take any pictures - and if George DID get an award, he surely wouldn't want me to stand and take a pic of the moment.
It came time for the Attendance Award and I wondered if this MIGHT be the ONE chance George would have to be recognized for ANYTHING for his 5th grade year. The teacher giving the award began. Good, they are going in alphabetical order. I will definitely know if when they get the Xs if George was getting an award or not.
Sure enough...George Weldie was called on to the stage for his Perfect Attendance Award. He was scared. He kept his head down. He looked horribly uncomfortable on the stage and practically RAN off the stage to sit back down. Joe and I just looked at each other and signed. Yes, that is our son acting that way. I wish I could pour information into everyone's brain right at the moment and explain how BROKEN this child is. What is wonderful for most children...is terrorizing for George. But, I quietly thanked God for urging me to come and that I was thankful for seeing George get an award.
The Awards' Ceremony wrapped up and Joe and I got up to leave. During this time, kids and parents are scrambling all over the cafeteria. Moms hugging their children, dad's giving high-fives, and families gathering for photographs. Joe wondered aloud if George would at least wave to us as we were leaving.
As soon as those words left his lips we saw George coming over to us. He was actually moving chairs out of the way to come see us before we got out the doors of the cafeteria. He called out, "Mom!"
And he walked quickly over, opened his arms for a big hug and smiled at us.
I snapped this picture of George with his award.
And then we told him how proud we were of him, wished him a great day (the 5th graders had planned an amazing fun day complete with music, fire trucks, games and food!) and then started to leave. I lost it then.
I cried and said to Joe, "Do you realize what just happened here? Today was about so much more than a Perfect Attendance Award. For the FIRST time in FIVE years, George was happy that I was there to see him."
Our progress is coming...it comes in VERY slow, VERY small steps. But, at least we are moving forward.
Posted by Traci Weldie at 6:03 AM