Joe-Ash graduates from the Orientation Center for The Blind (OCB) tomorrow and it brings up all kinds of emotions for me.
Today while I was manning the play structure before school, I saw a little boy I had never seen before. He was obviously a chronically ill child - smaller than his play mates, slower moving, transparent skin, wearing a hat. He was having so much fun climbing the ladder, going up a few more steps and then sliding down. He did it over and over. He had 2 little playmates who slowed down their pace and went up the ladder and down the slide with him (double slide).
He told me, with a great big smile (and obvious dental work), "I like the slide!" Over and over this group of 3 went up and slid down.
I asked, "Are you cousins?"
"No", said the little girl, "he's my brother."
My tears started trickling. I held myself together (somewhat) and wondered what was up with me, glad for my big ass sunglasses.
The morning bell rang and my little friend took one more slide.
I followed him to his teacher and asked about his diagnosis.
He reminded me of Joe-Ash from top to bottom. Thin skin, small stature, slower than others, careful.
I went to the bathroom, and saw how bad my red rimmed eyes looked. I put back on the glasses, went to my room, watered my plants, pulled myself together and went on with the rest of my day.
Throughout the day, I thought about it off and on - what is my problem?
Joe-Ash graduates tomorrow. He will be leaving the comfort of a place where he really came into himself. He was the Student Body President. He smoothed over all the problems that came up while he was there. He made great friends.
Joe-Ash has always been sick, has always felt like crap and has always been a bit different than everyone else. Sometimes the friends were a bit thin, distant, but his brothers always had his back.
When he lost his sight, we were all in shock.
Then we took him off to the OCB. All of us. His brothers arranged to get their days off from work, as did his dad and I. We sat in the admission office - the large group of 5 adults. They had to go get more chairs from the conference room to accomodate us. A couple of us were sort of sticking out of the office door - couldn't quite all fit in. We wanted to know where he was going, what he was going to do, who would be his teachers.
Now, nine months later, we are again taking the day off from work - this time to take part in his graduation. Hold See and I are going in the morning, DanDu is going in the afternoon and bringing Air Horn Guy, and the hubby is working in the morning and meeting us there.
We are going to watch him glide down this particular slide for the last time.
There will be new play structures to come.