His nervousness was palpable as he filed in with his classmates to the high school auditorium yesterday morning. His shoulders hunched a little less when he glimpsed me and his dad in the crowd. And they squared as he mounted the podium to shake hands with the school board.
And he is quite the young man, now. He sought our eyes a few times over the course of the ceremony. It was long(ish). And hot. And crowded. But he made it through, just like the rest of his peers.
After the ceremony, dad and I surfed the crowd, looking for him. Outside, I found B and his mom. I congratulated them both, and as I chatted with them, I was acutely aware that they were both distinctly uncomfortable talking to me. So smiling, I turned away and looked for my men.
A little later on, we went to a local eatery to celebrate, the three of us. And there were quite a few of Nic's classmates there, in groups. And there was my son with his folks. They poked each other and pointed. Nic did not notice. All Nic noticed was that he got to sit at the bar with the adults with his burger and seltzer. And he wished his friend went to the same school as him.
I'm not sure what my point is. I am elated beyond belief that he was promoted at his home school with his peers.
OTOH, I had my husband kicking me at different times during the ceremony. Like when the girl giving the send off speech said that in the seventh grade, you might change friends.
"If you have friends to start with," I muttered. Kick one.
And the part about sorting through Bar/Bat Mitzvah memorabilia:
"Assuming you were invited to any," I muttered. Kick two.
I forget what the third one was about, but you get my drift.
So, my son has made massive gains this year because of inclusion. But he still remains socially isolated. And I worry this will continue. Don't get me wrong--I love, respect, and admire all the teachers and staff that have helped get him to where he is now.
But I can't ignore the fact that he has no friends in this place.