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Why I Was in Denial About My Son With Asperger’s Starting High School

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Here I sit in bed. It’s 12:30 a.m. My son Hunter starts school tomorrow. Not just any school, high school… the final four years before real life begins. He is still awake, too. I have gone into his room off and on for the past two hours since he went to bed to check on him. He is tossing and turning. I know he is nervous, and I feel helpless because I can’t take away those first-day-of-school jitters.

The entire summer, I have been in a state of denial that this whole high school thing was actually happening. Then, a few weeks ago, I started having this familiar, uneasy feeling. It was a gut-wrenching, sick-to-my-stomach feeling. Yesterday, I realized that the last time I had this same feeling was when Hunter started kindergarten. It really woke me up to what was about to happen.

Just like the beginning of kindergarten, I know we are starting a new journey full of beginnings and unexpected turns. I know Hunter doesn’t always navigate those new experiences well. Many things are similar to the beginning of kindergarten, but unlike 10 years ago, I know this is it. I won’t be taking his nervous little hand and walking him into his classroom. Instead, he will be nervously walking himself into this new experience. I’m getting closer and closer to the end of my journey as his helper. Sure, I’ll always be there for him, but in three years, he will be 18. In 4 years, he could potentially be going to college. What then?

I’m at the stage of this mothering journey where things are getting very real. Our path to get here has been tough at times. It has been filled with therapies and IEP meetings; calls, notes, and emails to and from teachers; and hours upon hours of strenuous homework battles. The stress at times has seemed like more than I could bear. Now, I look into the future with more and more concern. These four years will determine his future. Will he go to a four-year college, two-year college or trade school? Will he ever be able to live on his own? The uncertainty is so scary.

Four years will come in the blink of an eye. I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but we will ride it out together. In the end, I hope that whatever the next four years bring, they will end with Hunter being well-rounded, happy and excited for his amazing future. I have to keep reminding myself that at the beginning of kindergarten, I was completely uncertain about what the future would bring, but look at him now! There is a lot more work to be done to get him where he needs to be, but look how far he’s come.

After all, life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and right now all I can do is take this race one step at a time.

Follow this journey on Sassy Aspie Mom.

Originally published: September 3, 2015
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