I'd like to wipe clean from my memory, and from Owen's, his entire fourth grade school experience.
The daily battle to drag his carcass out of bed at 6am. The struggle to get him dressed and fed and out the door to catch the bus by 7am.
The over two hour round trip commute to school.
The whimpering shadow of my once happy child falling exhausted through the door at 4pm.
The instant reduction to tears at the mention of homework. The nuclear meltdown if the homework happened to be math.
The stress caused by demands he learn to play the fucking recorder, complete with threats from music
The effort to maintain friendships with his Deaf friends who are scattered so far and wide that out of school outings are a rarity.
And the lack of time and energy to make any Hearing friends that might live nearby.
The whole year was physically, academically, emotionally brutal.
And then a letter arrived during the final week of this hellish year.
Owen's school for the Deaf, which rents out space in a public school; which was kicked out of its last host town three years ago and relocated to this current town (an hour away), was being kicked out again.
The thought of poor anxious Owen, at a brand new school, who knows how far away, in who knows what kind of school district, was too much.
Anger, frustration, pity, nausea.
I met his bus that day in the driveway, letter in hand, ready to cry to Owen's driver who also is an aide at his school.
What do you know? Where will they go? When will we find out? What about his friends? Will they be scattered? What about his Hearing friends at school?
What the stupid fucking fuck are we going to do?!
My heart hurt.
She had no answers and was just as distressed as I was. And as for Owen's friends at school? She dropped this little nugget on me;
"He sits alone at lunch you know. Away from his Deaf classmates. Nowhere near any Hearing kids. At his own table. By himself."
At which point my heart exploded out of my chest, dropped to the pavement with an audible splat, and ran screaming off into the woods hoping to be devoured by a coyote.
As it sloshed its way back to me, panting having unfortunately outrun the coyote, it imparted unto me an idea. The idea.
Well that's just about the dumbest idea ever in the history of dumb ideas. Never going to happen. You, my dear heart, are out of your mind.
But I knew. It was the only way. It was something I'd said hundreds of times I couldn't possibly do. Those who did this thing were clearly not the same species as myself.
And I planned a phone call to his school's director, ready to be shot down with my crazy pants idea.
She loved it. Declared it the best idea ever. The best thing for Owen. And let's have a meeting with the School District to put a plan together!
Well at least School District chick will tell me the truth; "Yes, Mrs. Elefanten that has got to be the worst idea I have heard in my entire career. Excuse me now while I laugh my ass off at you
and your horrible idea."
District chick loved it too. A lot. The two of them sat there and had the nerve to look me in the eye and tell me I could do it. That I'd be great. That it would be the best thing for Owen. That they would be there for me every step of the way, only a phone call away, to help with whatever we needed.
Bitches even made me cry because apparently Owen is lucky to have me and my fantastic idea.
In early September we put Bea on the bus and sent her off to first grade.
And Owen came back into the house and started his school year.