Thanks to social media, I realized that one year ago today marked Benjamin’s return to Southside. He was only there for a few hours, and wouldn’t return again for a few weeks. I’ll never forget the measures Mrs. West took to make him feel comfortable–how she dimmed the lights, how she talked softly to his classmates before he walked in, how she made him feel like he had hardly missed a thing. I’ll never forget walking to my car in the parking lot, overwhelmed with gratitude.
What a difference a year makes. This morning we were running a little late, and the parking lot was full. Banyan escorted Benjamin to the gate, and Benji walked upstairs on his own. This is a common occurrence. He craves the independence. When I picked him up from school, Mrs. West was in the car line. I was so happy to see her; I rolled down my window and told her it was a year ago that Benji returned to her classroom. I didn’t say anything more, but choked back tears as we shared a look that told her how deeply grateful I remain.
For the first and only time this busy week, we had no activities planned after school. Benji also had to practice guitar, which he did beautifully; his left shoulder and arm were still sore but he completed his work beautifully. After Banyan rejoined us and finished his science homework, we all spent some time outside. We played football, lay in the grass, flew the boys’ mini-drone. I needed this desperately. I felt like I could breathe again.