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Day 221 – Covid Weary is Not the Term

There are such a wide range of perspectives of the lockdown measures for the pandemic. Everyone is impacted to varying degrees. For some it’s just a matter of battling the cabin fever as they work and school from home. For others, it is trying to adjust a self employed business to keep it afloat for the next 6 months or who knows how long. For some it’s unemployment for a second time in a year while others in essential services and frontline work are working overtime and are exhausted both physically and mentally. Some are just plain afraid and feel safe at home.

For us it is a great big complicated mess of predicaments that keep us into a category all our own and that no EI or Covid Response can cover. We are on our own when it comes to the supports that have been a considerable help to us in dealing with our normal, everyday struggles minus Covid Lockdown complications. As it is with the Covid lockdown measures, we are pretty much up the creek without a paddle going over waterfalls every stinking day and the term Covid Weary is not the term I would use: Covid Abused would be a more suitable term.

Our boys used to participate in day programs and recreation/social programs during the week and on weekends as well as occasional respite. Every week they were swimming and engaging in lots of physical and social activities and we were able to get breaks during those times to either run errands, complete little projects or get out on a date. The movement for individuals with autism is a huge help with regulation of stimulation to them. It really seems to give balance for them. Without the movement programs, they are less and less able to regulate the over stimulation of the environment around them. 

Since Covid, the day programming has been cut down due to increased fees and we are burning through the funding that we use to pay for it. One of our sons started refusing to go to day programming and hasn’t been going since the Fall. We still aren’t sure what is the reason behind that. It could be he is afraid of the masks. Or it could be that they can’t do anything with them at day programming like they used to and he’s bored there and just prefers to be home being bored. His funding will not run out if he decides to go back. Unfortunately, we can’t use his funding for our other son’s programming.

All other programs and respite have been cancelled since March 2020. Almost 11 months. 

I’ve had people (Professionals) say, “Yeah? Like, so has everyone else.” 

Please let me explain. I’ve left my job so that I can care for our guys so that at least one of us can earn a living. Normally taking care of two adults with such severe needs and dependence requires one on one care. We have always paid two people to care for our boys. When I say boys, I am talking full grown adult males that are 200 plus pounds and taller than me. They have meltdowns with self injurious behaviours. One slaps his head, jumps up and down and screams to the point of making himself sick and creating a bald spot on the back of his head. The other hits his head with a closed fist and bites his wrist extremely hard often breaking skin and bruising. If his helmet keeps him from hitting his head, he will slap his face breaking blood vessels and bruising and blackening his eyes with swelling. He also jumps and screams. Is there any intervention when they get to this point? No. Not with a 200 plus pound man. Even to those of us who are used to it, it is incredibly disturbing to see. Sometimes we get a few signals that it’s coming like heavy breathing or growling type noises but a lot of times we don’t know it’s coming until we hear that first slap and they go from green to red alert in just a few brief seconds. Pre-Covid this happened maybe a few times a week. Now we get to watch our sons beat themselves up a few times a day each. They don’t have their routine and they are bored and they have had no movement to help with self regulation. 

What I want to do is cover my ears and crawl into a corner and rock until it’s over. But even then I would still feel the floor shake and hear the screams. My heart races, my stomach tightens up really hard and it hurts. My breathing becomes really shallow until my heart starts hurting too. 

Some days, I can handle it and try to get them to a safe spot and reduce as much stimulation as possible and make attempts at distracting them out of their meltdowns. As time goes on the flight instinct grows and the fight instinct fades. I want to escape from this prison of ours. Our home,  with the torture of witnessing such cruel and horrible treatment of our sons at their own hands. 

How much longer will we have to endure this and what damage will we see at the end? I’m starting to realize the concept of self harm that my boys seem to have as their second nature. I’m pushing away urges to hit myself in the head and scratch myself ruthlessly. What is it about physical pain that would be an escape from the torment?

I feel like there is no playbook for this. Why on earth would this be on the minds of those making decisions about social programs during a pandemic when this just isn’t a reality for anyone? Why on earth would my work benefits cover a leave of absence for this? How can anyone in their safe minds comprehend the conditions of a home in this much turmoil? Where can the help be found when contemplation of such things is impossible to people who would never experience this?  

We are not in this together and there is no imagination that can dare to say that we are not alone in this.

Day 148

I am sitting here starting the typing, not really sure what to type.  There are and have been many things circulating in my brain that I have been either experiencing or contemplating over the last few days.

So many big things with relationships, politics and raising and training children, it really is hard to pick a subject to write about that I think will be useful or appreciated or even provide some entertainment at least.

As I contemplate though, a gentle fresh breeze is wafting through the living room window and making it’s way to the kitchen where I am sitting.  It is not enough to tousle with my hair but enough for me to feel it on my arms and face and even through my jeans.  I am distracted…

I hear Ethan in the sunroom playing with a string that he has pulled out of the trampoline pad that covers the springs.  Somewhere I know that there is a blue bird’s nest and I think that perhaps I need to take a walk with my camera to see if I can locate one.

I am smelling the brownies that I just made for young peoples tonight that have recently come out of the oven and if it weren’t for the breeze in here, I am sure the kitchen would be a tad too warm from the heat of the oven.

I have verses running through my mind for part of a study I am thinking of for BJ and I am wondering just when I will approach him to share this when we will not be interrupted by hubby coming home from MS or brothers needing food, changes of pull ups or clothing or drinks.

I sigh, smile and take a moment to say thank you Lord.

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”  Deut. 7:6

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.”  Jer. 15:16

Sometimes, I think God uses the wind, scents and sounds to remind us to just think on Him and what He has given us to bless us.  What I thought were distractions were really blessings to keep me focussed on what is really important!

Day 147

Well it has been a while but as you may have already guessed the reason why, summer has ended and school has begun a new year this week.

Along with all of this have been a great deal of changes for our boys and much anxiety.  Ethan has been doing fairly well since he has the least change in the bunch being back in the same class he has been in for the last 5 years.  Although, this year he doesn’t have Andy with him, he seems to be settling in just fine.

Andy is adjusting to a whole new school.  High School.  He has been having a hard time but it sounds like the teacher and EAs are figuring out what works for him and making adjustments and allowing him time to get used to the changes.  Each day has been better and at home too.

John and I had been having a particularly rough time dealing with Andy’s fits that seemed to happen so frequently and without warning and so “out of the blue”.  I had put out a plea on Facebook for prayer and that night for the first time in a couple of weeks we had a calm night with absolutely no fits and a great night’s sleep.  A couple of days later at prayer meeting our chapel put in a united front praying specifically for our family and for Andy and we had yet another beautiful and calm night.

The Lord is teaching me an absolutely new appreciation for prayer these days and I am seeing much more than just the benefits of answered prayer in my latest experiences.

BJ is now at a new high school.  The one Andy attends and he seems to be doing well with the change.

I feel like I can breath a bit again and can post some more stories of the boys antics.  I think perhaps I might have an idea for Ethan’s costume this year.

Day 146

It is a beautiful day!  The skies are clear and the temperature is just right.  Not too cool for shorts and not too hot to want to stay inside where there is air conditioning.  It is a perfect Saturday just to hang out at home today.

The boys have been enjoying the back yard and we have bounced on the trampoline a few times.  Right now Andy is lying on it looking up into the clear blue sky relaxing.  At one point Andy and Ethan were jumping when Andy decided to flop down on his bottom to sit and it was at just the right time in Ethan’s jumping to fling him high into the air unexpectedly.  It was funny to watch.

I spent most of the day canning.  I got the canning pot and items out that I received as a Christmas gift last year and used it for the first time.

Yesterday after dropping John off at work, the boys and I went for a drive.  I put Andy in the front seat after dropping John off because he was upset on the way to the office.  I rolled down the window and he cheered up pretty quickly.

It’s peach season in the Niagara Region and I decided we needed to go for the annual drive down the Niagara River Parkway to get some at a local fruit stand.

The window was down all the way and Andy had his arm out the window and every now and then he was waving it as the wind blew through his fingers and over his hand and arm.  He was delighted with the sensation and I think the new view as well.

Ethan was sounding pretty happy in the back but when I looked, I discovered the reason for his happiness was the kleenex box.  He had found the little square box and had emptied it of it’s contents and was then chewing on the box.  Next time, Ethan sits in the front where I can see him.

We stopped at a few fruit stands and collectively purchased some peaches and corn then continued on our merry way with one more stop at McDonald’s for some hash browns for the boys.  It wasn’t 11am yet so we couldn’t get fries.  Those McDonald’s people are pretty precise on their 11am time.

So with the purchases yesterday and a couple today, I have made Carrot Cake Jam, Apple Pie Jam and canned Peaches. Yum!  But oh the sugar. I could not believe my eyes to see how much sugar is in those 7 jars of Carrot Cake Jam.

I have to say after the last post I made, I have been learning a lot from the Lord and one important thing I have learned is that I need to work on my contentedness.  I have been coming across a lot of verses on God’s sufficiency and strength and I know that I have often made it through tough situations and been grateful once through them, only to be wanting of something else after a couple of days.  It is a terrible habit to be met of one’s need only to move on to another, constantly so as to be in a perpetual “in want of something” state.

I have much to be thankful for and in my pursuit of holiness, will endeavour to count my blessings on a regular basis.

The speaker at our chapel on Sunday night was speaking on prayer and what struck out to me was after acknowledging God as Father and as Holy, He encourages us to pray for Him to meet our daily needs.  I have to say that I haven’t done that.  Although we give thanks for our food daily, in my prayers I have asked for provisions only when there has been a direct and immediate need.

I am seeing now how important it is to ask for our “daily bread”.  It is important for those of us who take certain things for granted and almost have a “self sufficiency” attitude until those great needs arise.  I need to have a “dependancy on God for all things”attitude and a “thankfulness” attitude.

Lots of lessons this week.  I will elaborate on the weakness/strength one in the next post.

Day 145

This post is going to be brutally honest.

It has been a rough week.  We are under a heavy burden and our faith is hanging by a thread.

As I was driving home from dropping the boys off at camp, I had those sneaky, doubtful thoughts.  I was having a conversation with God.  At first I was angry at him for giving us insurmountable circumstances that make every aspect of our life a struggle.  I was going down that dangerous pathway of blaming God and giving Him an ultimatum to prove himself to me.

I was afraid He wasn’t going to come through for us in our deepest hour of need, then even more dangerous thoughts followed.  What if I am talking to someone who doesn’t exist?  I mean, there have been times when we needed him badly and there was no help that came.  We explained it away by saying that He had something better for us or He was making us stronger by allowing us to go through that.  My thought was “Am I clinging to a faith in something that isn’t there?  What if I am making excuses for a non-existent God?”

Wow, I tell you I was at an extremely low point to have that much doubt.  I am a “the glass is half full” kind of gal and my last post on the cottage trip was very positive because I always turn to the positive things in our lives that I am grateful for.  It was a very difficult trip for John and I but there were many good things about it that I was glad for, mostly because the boys had such a good time in the water.  For about 10 minutes, I had drifted into the unfamiliar territory of wavering faith this morning.

But… I couldn’t abandon my hope in Him.  I just couldn’t forsake my faith.  I laid out all my burdens and felt like an insignificant servant for all the good I may have done for Him over the years.  I really was undeserving of His attention let alone His care.  So after conveying my great needs I finished my prayer and said “It’s out of my hands now, I am done with those burdens and those doubts.”

I feel just like the Israelites who wavered in the wilderness.  Circumstances blew them in every direction even to the point of making idols to see if they could do better for them.  They knew better than that yet they were at a very low point too.  I think Satan was working hard during those 40 years in the wilderness, planting the seeds of doubt into weary minds.

I think he was working on me too this morning.  I gave him 10 minutes to wreak havoc in my mind and I know that if I had read my bible this morning, that wouldn’t have happened.  I left my armour on the shelf and I left myself vulnerable and weak.

Take a little time every day to get into the word.  It is so much more than learning something important from God, it is equipping and arming ourselves for the spiritual battles that hit us head on when we least expect it.

Day 144

Well we are back from a trip to the cottage this summer with the whole Nicholson clan.  Well almost all of them.  We saw Judah for one day but we didn’t get to see Scott and Crawford had come after we left but for the most part there were 17 of us.  Lots of helpers!

The two families with children had been rented nice air conditioned cottages on a campground very close to each other and the others were at the beach house.  So pretty much every day we would get up, eat breakfast and pack up and head on over to the beach house to deposit our belongings and trek on down to the beach for our morning constitutional dip.

The weather this summer has been extremely hot, humid and dry (as in no rain) so we had nice warm water and beautiful sunny days for our swimming.

Andy and Ethan remembered everything from two years ago and knew exactly where to go to get to the water and there was no hesitation and fear from Ethan this time.  He ran right to it with arms flailing and a huge grin from ear to ear.

Andy couldn’t contain the joy while in the screened in porch area looking down to the water where he would soon be running head long into the gentle rolling waves of this massive pool with no end in sight of water to play in.

John stayed with Andy for the most part and I stayed with Ethan.  Andy would go out til the water was about up to his shoulders and then pretty much stay put and splash away.

I stayed with Ethan who liked to wander.  My fear was that if I let it him get too far away from me, I would not be able to catch up to him if he took off running or swimming so I stuck very close to him.

The first night my legs were just aching from the walking through the water following Ethan all over the place so I tried something different the next day.  I stayed in one spot and let Ethan roam and just called him when he wandered too far and it worked.  He actually stayed within a certain parameter of me and I even sat down close to the shore and just watched Ethan as he crawled along the sand with his face down.

He was doing this dead man’s float thing, face in the water and people walking by would take second looks to make sure he was still alive.  That was fun to watch I have to admit.

Ethan slept well but Andy did not sleep so well.  We ended up putting Andy on the sofa bed in the living room and took turns laying down with him in there.  It was good though in that he was quiet while he was up at all hours of the night so we were in relatively good spirits despite the lack of sleep.

John’s siblings were each designated a night to cook the suppertime meal and John and I were left off the list so that we would have a break from that to concentrate on the boys’ food.  But it was a nice surprise when meals were made GF/CF to include Andy and Ethan.  I had brought along their favourite meals, pre-cooked though since they are very picky eaters.

The first meal was made by Chris and it was steak and cheesy potatoes and broccoli.  It was delicious but I think that perhaps next time, Chris should do the last meal because who could follow steak and cheesy potatoes?

We had lovely times by the fire outside Chris and Moira’s cottage and the boys were enjoying the freedom to roam, a bit.  “Redirection” was the word that week.

One day while Judah was there John went out with him and Dave golfing and I was given a reprieve to nap and catch up on sleep.  Beth, Andrea, Sara, Sharon and BJ took the boys swimming and although I worried the boys would get away from them and into too deep waters, I prayed and was able to drift off for an unusual 2 hour nap.

In the evenings, I had noticed the family had been discussing their trips to the lake at night and one night, I got the boys tucked in and asleep and then I drove on over to the beach house with my swimsuit and trekked on down to the water to see what all the fuss was about.  It was midnight and very dark so I was basically going through the pathway by memory and trying to distinguish between the dark tall grass and the lighter sandy pathway.  I got down to the beach, dropped my towel and followed the sounds of chatter and frightened my in-laws pretty good since they didn’t know I was coming.  That was fun too.

Once there they told me I had to look up and when I did, I tell you I was literally star struck!  It was such a clear night that we could see the Milky Way and all the stars were just absolutely beautiful.

Then Beth dared me to do this spinning thing which basically makes you dizzy.   I am such a follower, I did it and I got about 4 rotations in before I had to stop for the dizziness.  It was silly really.  A 41 yr old woman with three teenaged sons in the lake at midnight, spinning around til I was dizzy.  Very silly but sometimes, just sometimes, you gotta let lose and be silly and remember how fun it is.  I can justify it by saying that my empathy and understanding towards my teens when they do silly things grows this way right?

Well, I can also empathize when there are consequences to doing silly things since the next day, my back went into muscle spasms and I was in a great deal of pain for the afternoon.

My siblings stepped up and helped out again with the boys in the water while I was flat on my back with ice and a few of Chris’ Robaxit pills.  John went on over to Chris and Moira’s cottage for supper with the boys and came back with a plate of food and told me that David announced that he and Mimi (his girlfriend who was with us) were engaged and would be getting married the next summer.

David is the second last of 7 children to get married and we were all excited for the both of them since Mimi is a doll and we all love her very dearly.  The two of them came over to our cottage and showed me the ring and Mimi offered to work on my back.  She has one year left of university for physical therapy and knew a thing or two about the back.  She worked on my back for about an hour while we chatted away about family and weddings and by the time she was done, my pain was reduced by about 80%.  She was amazing so I highly recommend her when she finishes for anyone in the Mississippi area next year!

I took it easy for the next few days but was able to go in the water with the boys and we had a wonderful time.

It was so nice for all of us to be together since we are quite a distance away from each other and opportunities like this usually only happen over a weekend on the US Thanksgiving weekend.

Next year we will be heading on over to Minnesota for the wedding and we are looking forward to it as John will be the best man!  Ahh, the happy days of summer!

Day 143

The other day I was running an errand and driving for a spell and was doing some heavy thinking.  I am not sure what brought it on but my thoughts were about what do we really value in life on a personal level?  What do we hope to end up with at the end of it all?

I guess lately things have been really stressful around here.  Andy has been having extreme fits with screaming and hitting and biting himself and it is really hard to see and deal with on a day to day basis.

We have also been dealing with his sleeping issues and it is really exhausting to keep up with.

So while driving in the car, from some reason, I thought that I wouldn’t change any of it.  Am I crazy or what?

Let me explain.  What do I really want and value in my life?  Courage, stamina, faith, compassion, strength and joy.

And believe it or not, I think those things can really only be the product of difficulties in life.  (That and being rooted and grounded in the word of God.)   I think that God allows the suffering for that very reason. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:10

If you put a child in a bubble and not allow any bumps and scratches or hurt feelings you will end up with one very wimpy kid who would blow over with a swift wind.  They also can be some of the most unhappy people around.

We are kind of living in such a bubble to some extent.  We have immunizations against every disease and sickness under the sun, we have ultra air bags in cars to protect from every angle, we have rules in schools that prevent kids from harm (and fun) like no snowballs and no swings, and we have websites galore on how to prevent bad things from happening to our families.  We fortify ourselves with walls like Jericho and rely on the walls to protect us.  Then when something bad eventually happens, there are investigations to find out why it happened and then new rules and regulations (walls) are put into place to prevent it from happening again.

It is why my boys couldn’t get their therapy in the pool, it is why a local school banned soccer altogether, and it is why we hear people ask all the time “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” They cannot grasp the concept that suffering leads to good things in this age of avoidance of anything that is uncomfortable.  I must say that I would avoid too if I had the choice and it breaks my heart when my boys are hurt or are suffering.

Zaccheaus was a very short man who climbed a sycamore tree to see the Lord Jesus as he was walking by in a crowd.  The thing I learned about sycamores (we have one) is that they are perfect for swings because they actually strengthen with the weight and use or abuse so to speak.  If I really wanted to be deep I would say that my boys love swings and the joy they receive from the result of such difficulties on that tree is not comparable to any other thing in our yard (other than water).

God is interested in building strong, faithful, and loving people.  He values the kind of faith that is not afraid and is willing to jump into the throng or who can stand firm in the storms.  These are the things that will last beyond the things that pamper us or make us comfortable in life.  These are the things that people notice in those who struggle too and can encourage and inspire and it is a testimony of God.

I do make every effort to keep my kids safe and I am not reckless in our activities but when the storms come, I try to keep the perspective that there is something being generated in me and my family through all of it and it is something that will last much longer than a pedicure or a super vacation and it is something that God values.

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” 1 Tim. 6:12

Day 142

There was a message at church tonight about the “Will of God”.  I enjoyed what he had to say so I thought I would share a few things with you what I had learned in the past on this subject and what the preacher had learned as well.

We hear that phrase tossed about a lot and it often is a question for people especially young people.  What does God want for me to do in work or school or relationships?  It always seems like such a mystery and many don’t want to go outside of “God’s will” in the decisions of life especially the big ones.  People worry and doubt and question because the bible often speaks of being in the will of God.

I had come across a verse a few years back that says “Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes. 5:16-18 (NLT translation).

So in everything you do, be joyful, prayerful and thankful.  It’s not so complicated is it?

The speaker had given out a few more verses about the will of God including Proverbs 3:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”(NLT)

He doesn’t want us to get confused and worry about what to do.  He says we don’t have to understand just trust that He will direct our decisions.  In the NKJ version it says “In all your ways acknowledge Him” (for “Seek his will in all you do”) but when I look up the original word for “acknowledge” it means “to know”.  So if we know Him and trust Him, He will lead us to make the right decisions.

So when I pray now to be in “God’s Will”, I pray not necessarily for direct answers to decisions but that I would be joyful, prayerful and thankful in all circumstances.

Day 141

Last Saturday, John went to an all day seminar on sleep and compliance. The man leading the seminar was from the states and John was very impressed with what he learned from him that day.

Andy had been having trouble with sleep for a couple of months prior to this seminar and we have been very tired of middle of the night vigils with Andy. John came home from the seminar with lots of helpful suggestions and we started that night with just a few of them.

It worked that first night and for 4 nights straight. Then we had an off night and then the rest of the week has been good. We are excited it is working so we are keeping up with the routine.

The suggestion was to stimulate the boys as much as possible in the evenings and keep them up beyond their usual bedtime. Then turn off the stimulation. Turn down the lights, change them into pj’s, brush their teeth, and tuck them into bed with no or very low lights. They are not to leave their room once they get tucked in.

It’s amazing with just a few simple suggestions, how it can make such a huge impact on them. So for the last week, we have been trying to do something with the boys every evening. We’ve gone for drives, played in the blow up pool in the backyard,went for groceries, went to fireworks, went to playgrounds and went to Walmart and hung out in the outdoor furniture section.

Tonight we went to Port Dalhousie and went for a ride on the 5 cent carousel and then a walk down the pier.

Ethan loved the carousel and was laughing and smiling and waving his hands and even giving his horse a little pat on the head to encourage him to go faster.

Andy did not want to sit on the horse that went up and down and moved to a stationary horse. He watched the outside scenery as it went by but was not all that impressed.

I am sure we will go again but perhaps Andy can sit on the sleigh, maybe even stretch out on the bench seat to watch the scenery go by. I’m so glad it is only 5 cents 🙂

Day 140

It has been a crazy week. Ethan had his dental work done under anesthesia and it was Andy’s birthday and his graduation this week.

 Graduation for grade 8 has turned into a much bigger thing since I was in grade 8. I don’t even remember a ceremony to tell you the truth.

 I had debated over what Andy should wear since the kids at BJ’s grad were dressed for the prom but I knew I wasn’t buying Andy a suit. That’s just not Andy’s thing. Instead we got him a nice pair of pants and polo shirt and a new pair of converse shoes. His trademark footwear.

 Andy likes to take his shoes off anywhere, in the yard, in the van on the bus and even while walking so we got him the converse high top shoes to make that a little more difficult. It has worked so we have stuck to that and he has had a few different colours over the years.

This year he had some turquoise ones. They were on sale. There were caricatures drawn of each grad and were on display in the gym for the ceremony and it didn’t take long to spot Andy’s. The blond curls and turquoise shoes gave it away.

Andy was slated to be first up on grad night and before we knew it he was up on the stage with his fingers in his ears looking around at everything and everyone but the diploma or certificate or whatever they give out for grade 8.

He turned to face the audience and stayed up there for a while as if the allow the audience to applaud his accolades.  Then he was being guided away by his entourage of EAs and his teacher and special friend.  There were about 5 of them there just for Andy along with grammy and grampy and mom and dad.

I am not sure if he understands that he will not be going back to Grapeview other than to visit his little brother.  He thrived at Grapeview and has grown so much under the guidance of the staff there.  I am a little sad to see him leaving and really wish there was a way to keep him there at least another year but life does go on and things change.

After a visit at the high school Andy will be attending, I feel much better about him moving on.  He will be learning to sit in the cafeteria with all the students in the school and hopefully learn how to eat and stay sitting and not steal other people’s food.  This offers hope that some day we can take him to a restaurant!  He will also be able to work in the greenhouse with dirt! He will be learning to wash pots, lol.  Really, the life skills they will work on with him will be extremely valuable.

My Andy is growing up and it is in some ways sad to a mother’s heart but in others encouraging that he is learning and growing.  The future looks bright Andy and you are a super star!