Friday, October 14, 2011

She Couldn't Have Known

She couldn't have known, after our ten-second exchange, that her comment would leave me with tears welling in my eyes. Good tears. Happy tears.

There's no way this mom of one of Ethan's preschool classmates could have known.

As I've mentioned before, Ethan is in a blended pre-K class of three-year-olds, some typical, some with autism, some with other special needs. He's actually surprisingly good about filling me in on little tidbits about his day. I'll hear about how he went to the gym. I'll hear about snack or the songs they sang. What's harder to decipher is how much he actually relates to his classmates.

Some days he'll say he doesn't want to go to school because they're "scary." Other times he'll mention knocking down blocks with a certain kid, or playing trains with another child. When we walk in each morning, though, he freezes when we see the other kids waiting in the hallway with their teacher. He doesn't exactly greet them with a smile and a hello. "Hi Ethan!" one boy I'll call B. called to him the other morning. Ethan just looked and stared.

Which is why I was so surprised this morning when that same little boy's mother walked by Ethan and I as we were approaching the school entrance.

"I have to tell you," she said in a rush. "My son was in there crying because he was sad thinking Ethan wasn't going to be at school today."

Then she was off to her car and I was off to drop off Ethan. He still didn't look his teacher in the eye or say hello. But all I could think about was this: for the first time, someone other than family or his therapists missed Ethan; was asking for Ethan; wanted Ethan's company. Yeah, it was a three-year-old, and maybe he was just cranky.

But maybe, just maybe, another child considered Ethan...a friend.

That's why for a moment my eyes clouded with tears, that quickly transformed into a smile as I drove away in the rain.

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