When the letter arrived home from school, stating that J1 had an 'Activity Week' approaching, I read it and wondered if it might all be a bit too much for him to cope with. A whole week of being out of routine. A whole week of travelling to different venues. A whole week of extra curricular, over stimulation for his brain.
However, as the week drew closer J1 showed none of his usual 'out of routine' anxiety. When I mentioned it to him in conversation, which I tried to do every evening whilst I got him ready for bed, he got excited and repeated back what he had heard in class about the activities. He even started to do his 'excited' clench.
However, having 10 years of experience on my side, my own anxieties did not lay to rest as I pessimistically thought 'The meltdown will come at some point.'
But... It never did.
It never did!
I waited for it to start appearing, the constant repetition that 'He doesn't have too.' or the waking in the night crying and saying 'He'll stay home today.' Like the rain you expect to see after having two days of blazing sunshine on the UK shores in the summer, I waited.
Not a peep.
He continued to be excited and verbally upbeat. So we responded in the same way and by the time Monday morning arrived the house was buzzing with talk of 'Activity Week.'
The first day I had to drop him to the venue as it was a park closer to our home than the school. My own anxieties returned, in the past when I have taken him somewhere with the school he would cry for me as I tried to leave. But this year, when handover came, he was more interested in his friends and what they had brought for lunch and didn't give me a backward glance. I actually walked away, back to the car to the sounds of 'Byeeeeeee Mummmmmm!'
I could have cried.
Such progress! Such growth! I had not seen it coming.
Puffed up with pride I looked forward to the following day when I would be, cue dramatic music, staying for the day with the class on the farm trip.
I was not to be disappointed and I must say, etch it in stone for it to lay written forever, it was one of the best days of my life.
I got to spend the day watching, with my own eyes, just how far J1 has come since January. He has built real friendships. Buddies. School pals. The other children wanted to hang back with him, hold his hand, chill with him. Spend time in his company. They argued over who's turn it was to sit next to him for lunch. And J1 revelled in it.
As did I. Gone was the school trip of past whereby if I so much as attempted to smile at another student he would burst into uncontrollable sobbing. He wore a smile all day, as bright and beautiful as the sun.
We always look for achievements for our children. For J1 this was a huge one. It was one giant step towards independence. The only thing I really pray he will achieve, and achieve fully in life. Despite of his physical disabilities. To have friends to laugh and joke with. To have friends to share experiences with. To get involved. To enjoy life.
My boy is growing.