(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Beth’s first day of high school passed smoothly—with support systems in place. Her favorite plan allowed her to sit next to a friend in each class. They photocopied their class notes, handled her bookbag, and left class early with her. With heavy books still a challenge for Beth to manipulate, we kept a set of textbooks at home. She also had a small plain table to use as a desk in each classroom. Involuntary muscle spasms made her legs bounce straight out, rigid. Her good friends could safely bend her knee to “break” the spasm and put her foot back on the wheelchair footrest.
“I had a small group of very close friends who helped me in many ways,” Beth said.
The second day of school, I followed my daughters down the hall from a distance, purposely looking down on the way to my new job. Thankfully, no one talked to me. Perhaps they didn’t know what to say, or maybe they respected my obvious desire to be left alone.
As instructed, I followed my supervisor’s lead with my job. I mainly tutored at-risk 10th graders in math. Grateful to not have more responsibility, I genuinely liked the students, curious about their stories. Under other circumstances, I would have tried to earn their trust. I would have been concerned about their choices and advocated for their future. Instead, I kept my distance; my well of worry already overflowed. I also had no way of knowing how long I could keep the job.
After school and physical therapy, a crabby parrot greeted us when we returned. Timber didn’t like being left alone through the school day. The moody parrot baby had a tougher time adjusting to change than Beth. I did, too.
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