Joe turns eleven today. Crumbs! Just recently, someone was talking about the post I wrote when he turned ten. And now it is time to write another one. The years are going by way too fast.
I don't know where to start. It has been quite a year for Joe. He just completed elementary school, having spent the last two years fully mainstreamed. I attended three school shows in which he sang and sang/danced: Two chorus performances and the school production of "Grease". Although stressed, he handled all three very well. I, on the other hand, cried more than I had at my Da's funeral. At each performance! Grace oscillated between concern for me and rolling her eyes at me.
Joe gave up Judo this year, which I was bummed about. He had been doing well with it, but a couple of minor injuries and a major meltdown caused him to throw in the towel. He is going to try flag football next. And track. I'm sure we will find some kind of sport that he will like. (I believe sport in important for many reasons, which I will get into another time). He has also expressed an interest in fencing, but the idea of Joe brandishing a long object through the house is kind of terrifying to me. Maybe I should just get over myself and let him try it.
Joe has grown tremendously this year. He is able to identify and voice how he is feeling much of the time, which is new for him. Just yesterday, after returning from the dentist, we found the house alarm screaming and the back door standing open. The police had been called already, so I reassured the kids that there were no strangers in the house (after I checked!), set everything back to rights and acted like everything was normal. The policeman was very nice and didn't stay long. However, as the cop was walking out the door, I saw Joe's head pop up from behind a chair. I thought he was still scared of burglars and told him that there was no need to hide; that we were safe.
He came to me about five minutes later: "Mom. I'm scared" He went on to explain that he had been afraid the policeman would arrest him! I set him straight, of course. But I was very proud that he was able to identify and express his emotion and then to come to me for help. All three of these are very important skills for a person on the Autistic Spectrum and they are all newly emerged in Joe.
Joe has been thinking about friends a lot too. Sadly, just as he was starting to appreciate that his buddy from next door has been a constant through his life, we learned that the family will be moving out of state very soon. That's a tough blow. However, I think the timing is opportunistic; with Middle school starting, there will be more opportunity to meet new friends. I really hope that happens for him this year. I think he is ready. He has grown a huge amount in the past year. I hope and expect him to grow a lot more in the next year, now that he is eleven.
ELEVEN! Mother of God!
I'm not ready...