Hey there munchkins –
Tomorrow is your last day of 4K! It seems like only yesterday that I stood outside of the door waving and fighting back tears as you crossed the threshold into your new classroom. The beginning of your grade school journey.
I stood there for a long time. I knew that eventually I needed to walk away. But I needed that moment. I needed to know that my son Grayson was in good hands. I needed to watch as you all entered your new world together.
It was hard for me to give Grayson to you. Selfishly I wanted to keep him all to myself. But the world deserved a dose of my sweet and wonderful little man. And so I gave him to you. I shared him with each of you.
I was scared, but I was still so full of hope. Hope for all of the things that you would teach him. And all of the things that he would teach you.
I wrote you a letter then and I asked you for a big favor. I asked you to keep Grayson safe. To show him kindness. I asked you show the world the power of love and tolerance. I asked you to accept differences that you did not even understand.
I told you about Autism. I told you about the way that autism makes Grayson wiggle. I warned you that sometimes autism is really loud. And sometimes it is hard to understand why Grayson is doing the things he does or saying the things he says. Autism is confusing. (Oh boy do I understand that!)
But I needed you to know about Grayson’s autism. About his wiggles and his noises. Because I needed you to help Grayson to be the best Grayson he can be. And I knew that if you could let him in that he would help you to be the best that you can be too.
And all year I have been watching. I watched the morning line-up. I participated in classroom activities. I attended school programs and after school events. I watched. And, I saw.
I saw you do something amazing. I saw you embrace my wiggly son. I saw you learn to love him.
I saw the way you invited him to join in on activities. I saw the way you did not hold a grudge after a particularly tough day. I saw you learn to carefully step back when Grayson wiggled near you. I saw you politely remind him to find his spot in line. I saw you calmly find an adult when you needed help. I saw you make silly and kind faces when you could not understand his words. I saw you excitedly crowd around him when he presented something to the class.
I saw a lot of things. Things that filled my heart with joy. Things that calmed my fears. Things that gave me hope for this world. For kindness. For love. For acceptance. For difference.
Every moment was not perfect. Sometimes he wiggled right up in your face. Sometimes he knocked down your tower and crashed your trains. Sometimes he lost control of his body around you. Sometimes he yelled. Sometimes he hid away in his box. Sometimes he wanted so badly to play with you and could not find the words to tell you. Sometimes he ran. Sometimes he went into the girl’s bathroom instead of the boys. Sometimes he disrupted the class.
And I think it is ok for things not to be perfect. Grayson has autism, and autism is not perfect.
You might think that I am silly, but I meant it when I asked you to help me change the world. Because sometimes this world needs a little changing. And I just knew that you could help me. I looked at your bright, smiling faces and I saw such a beautiful world reflected in each of you.
So before the final bell rings and you race off into summer break; I have just one more favor to ask you. Remember my son Grayson.
Remember the way that he wiggles. Remember the way he struggles to talk to you. Remember that sometimes he does things that you do not understand. Remember that he is different. Those are important pieces of Grayson and I want you to remember them.
But also remember the fun. Remember his beaming smile. Remember his joyful giggle. Remember the passion and energy he brings into the classroom.
Remember that different is good. Different is fun. Different is important. And if we all remember that; then we really might just change the world.
Have an amazing summer kiddos. Catch you in Kindergarten!