Relief and Grief

These last few days have brought us so much happiness and much needed relief. Things were getting tough. Too tough. I was getting worried. The first three days of school this week were so bad that I was sure we were on our way to another difficult med change, which always holds the possibility of hospitilization. Javan shared some scary, dangerous thoughts with me and his aggression was getting out of control. Then, like so many times before, the light switch flipped and my sweet boy became his sweet self again overnight.

Much of his renewed control can be attributed to the help of the amazing professionals at Javan’s school. After an especially difficult day, they all met up and just talked about ways to help him get back on track. They came up with a plan for his aide to stay alone with him in the sensory room  with no access to his friends, his classroom, or even the lunchroom until he had earned enough points with good behavior to be able to join his class again.

His first day in the sensory room didn’t go so well. He earned zero points. Then he realized he actually wanted to go back to his classroom and be with his friends, and the next day his behavior was so excellent that he managed to earn 70 of the 80 points he needed to rejoin his class. The next day was Fun Friday, not a day you want to miss being with the class. He needed to earn 10 more points, and he knew he could earn 12 points by getting in the bus on his own and being nice on the way to school. Still, he wasn’t able to keep himself from fighting me on the way out the door and fearfully holding onto the porch rail when the driver and aide arrived.

The aide got out on her own and was so encouraging and positive, telling him she asked the driver to stay in the car because she just knew Javan had the courage and strength to get in the car on his own. Although he was calmer than normal, he couldn’t quite be convinced to release his iron grip on the rail. The driver eventually got out of the car and strode slowly to the porch with his usual friendly smile. He walked across the porch to Javan and just stood and talked to him for a while.

Backstory: One day earlier in the week, when the bus arrived, Javan bolted and ran down the street. I was barefoot and I’m no runner, but thankfully the driver had it under control. He asked the aide to follow in the car while he ran after Javan. When he caught up to him, Javan got in the car with little assistance.

Back to the story. So as they stood on the porch talking, I could see the driver pointing down the street to where they had run the day before. I couldn’t hear what the two of them were talking about, but suddenly their tone and body language changed from wary to conspiratorial agreement. Javan let go of the rail and took off. The driver was after him, but obviously not intending to catch him. He asked the aide to follow in the car while they ran down to the neighbor’s mailbox.

I watched through the blinds as they ran to the agreed upon stopping point and Javan stopped and got in the car on his own. I was pleasantly shocked. The driver had found a way to give Javan some element of control and the result was that he no longer felt threatened and he cooperated with ease.

These people are absolutely amazing. All of them. I still find myself questioning often, especially on the hard days, if this is the right path for him. But then I’m reminded that those hard days would still come if I homeschooled, and the thought of facing all of these challenges on my own without this awesome team of caring supporters just doesn’t seem smart. For Javan or for me or for our family.

Here is his daily report for the last two days of the week:


Text reads:

4-7: Excellent day!!


Perfection  ya’ll! And he received “Excellent” for behavior both days! He is working towards getting 10 “Excellents” in a row to earn a $25 Wal-Mart gift card from Mom and Dad. We made this visual chart to help him see his progress:


Other stuff that’s happened this week. Javan’s favorite American Idol contestant, Trent Harmon, won the competition! I let him stay up way past his bedtime Thursday night to see the winner crowned. We had a fancy grown up party with fancy grown up “wine.” We used real wine glasses and Javan had so much fun pouring and serving us.


Only one glass spilled all over the couch, so that’s still pretty good. When Trent won, we screamed and hollered and jumped around like we’d lost our minds. And then when he sang his victory song, Javan got up, came over to me, offered his hand and pulled me up for a slow dance. He said, “This could be our last time to ever dance to Trent on American Idol.” I may have cried a little. That’s a golden memory for me. I hope it will be for him too.

Javan has also decided what he wants to be when he grows up. Sort of. He either wants to be a video game developer or a really rich guy with an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a personal submarine. I think he might have to be both. He would make a fantastic video game developer. And an awesomely eccentric rich man. His attention to detail and creative story telling would make for some wickedly unique games.

On a less happy note, my Grandpa Don passed away Thursday morning. He’d been sick for a while so it didn’t come as a surprise. Javan didn’t know Grandpa very well as trips to San Antonio were difficult to do often, but he has some memories of him sprinkled here and there. When Javan was a little boy, he loved Grandpa’s exercise bike. He, of course, wasn’t big enough to use it as it was meant to be used, so he came up with his own always unique way of playing on it. Grandpa didn’t mind. He didn’t mind that Javan was different either. He loved him just the way he is, just like he did with everyone.

I was worried about how Javan would take it. After all, he broke out in random tears for two months when he lost Pretty Pretty the betta fish and he still talks about missing that fish sometimes. When I broke the news, Javan was sad but he didn’t cry. He just said he wanted to think about the good times he’d had with grandpa. He hasn’t mentioned it since. Grief is a funny thing. It’s easier to grieve for a fish than a grandparent because it isn’t so big. I have no doubt that in days or weeks or even months, once Javan processes that grandpa is gone, he’ll grieve in his own way. And I’ll be here when he’s ready.


My Grandpa Don


3 Comments (+add yours?)

    Apr 09, 2016 @ 21:49:49

    Krista, I’m so sorry about the passing of your dear grandfather. We’re never ready to let our loved ones go, even if death is expected. You will often think of the good times you’ve had with him, and that will bring you joy and healing.


  2. jtsmithiv
    Apr 11, 2016 @ 03:38:00

    I have something for Javan. address needed again, please.


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