Monday, May 13, 2013
Glimpses of Nathan
Some things are all about perspective. It seems everyone wants to be "more than just a number". It's an analogy that has long been worn thin. Never has any number been less able to reflect success than Nathan's GPA. Were he graded on effort, drive, and commitment, he'd be the head of his class.
Only those who knew him in his younger days can truly understand how far he's come. They, like us, remember the over-sized little boy who scarcely spoke. His classroom clearing meltdowns could haunt the nightmares of any first year teacher. Those who know him now could scarcely imagine me sitting in the floor outside his first grade class, holding him while he cried. He had no other means of venting his overloaded senses. He's always been too gentle for real violence, so tears were the only release valve that remained.
I confess that I have to remind myself that he couldn't answer "what, why, when, where, and how" questions, or put together a basic chronology until he was past the age of 7. In those days even we only saw brief glimpses of the intellect that Asperger's was successfully concealing from most of the world. We knew it was in there. We knew HE was in there. We just didn't know how successful we'd be in getting to him and getting him to the world.
We were blessed beyond measure to have educators and other parents who saw "glimpses of Nathan" as well. It's been a common theme throughout the years. Those who are willing, always see the real Nathan. Those who see him love him. He's inexplicably endearing.
Today marks the first day of the last week of Nathan's freshman year of high school. It also marks his first year since moving to Louisiana that he hasn't had a personal paraprofessional working with him to ensure that he understands what's being asked of him. Both of these are major hurdles. Nathan has posted a solid cumulative GPA. I don't post the exact number simply because finals aren't done. Make no mistake, we're proud. Nathan always rises to the occasion, but this time he hammered it. He'll finish the year between 2.6 and 2.8. Any neurotypical kid who invested half the time and effort would nail a 4.0 in the toughest of AP classes.
Socially, it was also a very successful year. There were a few bumps and hiccups, but nothing near actual "trouble". He seems to be building a circle of friends who "see him" and care about little else. His teachers have described him as polite, extremely intelligent, and even well spoken at times. Even I have trouble reconciling all my memories with the young man who now shares our home.
Few will ever fully understand our pride and sense of accomplishment. A simple number can't reveal the path we're walking. Regardless, we are no less grateful and amazed by the "daily miracles" that punctuate our family's life.