He had his first public meltdown in years on Saturday. I can't blame him. It's been a rough week for us. His heart was certainly in the right place. At every school, there's one teacher. One teacher who sees him. She sees his intellect and his heart, not his damage. She came to his baseball game for the first time this season. She came to one last year as well. I'm not sure she's comfortable with how much his parents adore her. She can't possibly understand what it means to us.
She left after the game, while the players were taking pictures with the volunteers who had assisted with this week's game. It broke his heart. He wanted to say goodbye and give her a hug for coming. He cried like a little boy, a 6'1", 280lb little boy. His cry was loud and uncontrollable. When I first saw him from a distance, my first thought was to find out what had happened, or had been done to him. Seeing that he was ok, I'm ashamed to admit, I was a little embarrased at the scene he was making. Fortunately, my better angels took over. I quickly decided that this was my son. His heart was broken, and he needed his dad. He needed the same dad who sat on the floor of an elementary school hall in Texas and held him to let him cry through his most recent meltdown. I was that man again. He's far too big to sit in my lap, so a hug had to do. We talked through his frustration, and what we'd do to ensure that he got his hug next time. I even let it be "my fault" that he missed her.
Despite all our progress, in many ways he's still the same kid. I'm still the same dad. We still have a long way to go.