I certainly wasn't the first parent to hear that over the phone. But the principal went on to tell me that he had, in his twenty years of service, never seen a situation in which a first grader was suspended. That was the moment in which I realized I was going to be the parent of a child in special education.
But that was years ago, and the issues and trials of raising my son have all past. He's 18 now and out of high school. He has plans for college, enjoys playing music and has the rarity of a teenager—an actual job. Sometimes when I drink too much I apologize to him for being such a crappy parent. He then proceeds to tell me that I'm the best parent he knows. I only hope that I've been successful in passing on the lessons of love that were so important to me.
After thinking I had this parenting thing all figured out I went ahead and had another kid. Things were going great and I was having a blast when I brought my little girl to her first preschool class. I smiled as I watched her attack the classroom with gusto. It was the next class when the teacher pulled me aside and said “We're having some issues with your daughter ...”
So a couple of weeks later I had all kinds of written assessments of where my daughter was delayed, papers that served me entry into “Early Intervention”. My kid's not even three and she's getting therapy.
There's a lot still ahead, and I don't even know what's there at the end. I probably would simply endure in silence but a recent argument with a friend showed me something. Maybe if I talk about it somewhere where it could make a difference for another parent. Or explain the system to people who don't know.
So that's the story so far.