I work at a boarding school for teenagers with complex cognitive learning disabilities. It is unlike any other place in the world.
My job is challenging. beautiful. forever changing. crazy. fun. musical. frustrating. hilarious. exciting. unpredictable. fulfilling. serious. scheduled. creative.
We close out the 2015-2016 school year and graduation weekend is always emotional. Reflecting on another year past. Realizing again how much we all love each other. Taking time to tell people we are proud of them. Thinking about the past year as it flew by.
I learned how to make exhibit A look like exhibit B in 15 minutes. #WORKING MOM PROBLEMS.
We did some celebrating.
We chaperoned dances.
We spent far too much time in the airport getting people on flights.
We made the best of the LONG New England winter.
We learned A LOT of valuable life lessons.
We tried to remember how lucky we are that the beach is 1 mile from the school and walk there as much as possible. This particular beach walk took place during “wig day” in my dorm.
I was beyond thankful that my kids went to a school that they ran to. I never had to think about the care of my children. I knew they were loved and happy.
Thanked my lucky stars every time co workers helped and supported the Mom of small children life. When you had to miss work to be super Mom. Everyone pitched in, covered, checked in on me, and made my crazy debut into the working Mom life manageable.
Everyday you remember to be glad that you have friends that you can say, “please come to my house and do parachute with us.”
My coworker, Turd Ferguson bought a car off of Craigslist. Had our guys help him with taking the car apart to make it derby ready. Then all the students took turns spray painting the car and signing the back. My coworker Sassandra and I took all the guys to watch him race at the Seekonk speedway. It was 1 million degrees outside. I ranted about proper hydration practices and we had a really awesome day.
We joined an adult kickball league to spread positive team building morale. AKA it’s super fun.
Kickball turned into jumping off bridges into the creek if the tide was high after and then camp fires. Love and relaxation goes a long way.
BANDIT JOINED THE TEAM!!!! I realized that our school was moving too slowly with the therapy dog program. Every one knows its a great idea. Yet it wasn’t happening. Well, I happened to have a large house cat, non barking, hug loving, black lab that wanted to be part of the team. I look forward to seeing in what ways we can utilize him in the future. Spreading happiness is obviously Bandito’s life mission.
We made a movie. My coworker Turd Ferguson and I realized that the common bond with our 11 students was a love of movies. Yes, they would plan outings to the movies. Yes, we were happy they were inviting friends and exploring the community. But who is learning any social skills sitting in a dark theater not speaking to the person next to you?
Therefore, Turd had always wanted to make a movie with his students. So we did that. We let each student pick their own character. We started with the premise that the President was captured and a group of heros needed to venture to save him.
Filming the movie allowed us to head out into the community. We filmed at the fire station. Out behind the Giving Tree. Beaches. Where ever our imaginations led us.
Then a funny thing happened. Our students caught fire. They became engaged in brainstorming ideas for the movie. They learned lines and started to ad-lib. I was so very proud of them. We dug through basements and costume closets. We laughed. Oh my did we laugh.
Then it got even better when my coworkers started jumping on board to help out. Proving again how open, silly, and kind they all are.
Of course in the end, we had a red carpet premiere! A showing on the big screen of the auditorium in front of all their parents and peers. Turd and I wanted these guys to feel like celebrities. To remind them of how awesome they really are.
To remind everyone that the word Autism means nothing to me. Autism is merely a description of how your brain functions to me. It has very little to do with what type of person you are. It should never be a label that tells anyone what they can and cannot do.
I am and will always be so proud of them.
Crazy what happens when someone supports all your crazy ideas.
Then just like every year, the giant tent made its debut to the field, signaling the end. Every one wore fancy dresses and danced the night away.
As quickly as it came, another school year closed. Every body grew up a little bit. Every one learned something whether they realize it now or not, and I’m not talking about the students.
Everybody is a genius.
But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
- -Albert Einstein