This past weekend, Kaeden attended a wedding. Not only attended, but took part in the wedding ceremony. He passed out the ceremony books and led people to their seats. Then, during the mass, he read pieces of a story. This wedding, it gave me a little piece of something I can't explain. It showed me that my son has a place in the world, and where that place is. It made me see him as an independent young man, fulfilled.
Kaeden came home and told me his teacher was getting married, and that he could attend the ceremony. He was very excited, animated, happy to be part of something so big for someone so important in his life. I hadn't heard anything about this wedding, so wasn't quick to sahre his excitement. I thought maybe his imagine was taking over, as happens often with Kaed. I didn't want him to get his hopes up too high, so answered with a simple: That is nice.
Then, I received a note from his teacher, outlining Kaeden's duties during the ceremony, what time he needed to be at the church. He told me he was preparing Kaeden and his classmates for their part in his wedding. I was initially a bit frustrated by the news, getting it just 2 days before the date. Really, it's something I should have known earlier; what if we had other plans?
However, as my frustration subsided, I felt a sense of acceptance. Acceptance of and for my son. People in his life, whom are important to him, but for whom he is also important to them. A bonding with teachers, everyday people in the world. It gave me great satisfaction, knowing that this tight-knit little group of which Kaeden has been a part for two years now, really is the tight-knit group I have imagined. A class of five young men all with severe behavior problems, learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, and aggression. A class specially designed to keep these kids in school, to help them find their place in the world. Two young male teachers who hold the group together, acting not only as teachers, mentors, guides, but also as friends. They are not
Mr. Teacher, but Timmeke (an endearing form of his name) and Bossie (a nickname). And this group of seven has become my son's world for the time being. A place where he learns, plays, and fights, but then learns how to control his aggression and anger, how to deal with the emotions leftover from a fight.
When I saw Kaeden, his friends, and his teachers at the wedding (my curiosity got the best of me, I couldn't stay away), I recognized that Kaeden is exactly where he needs to be. Yes, he
needs guidance. He is getting it, from this little group. Maybe the teachers are too young to fully understand, they have no kids of their own, have only been teaching a short while. They are smaller than my son and Kaeden pats them on the head. BUT, they are giving him friendship with a twist- they are in control, they are guiding him. And my son fits in perfectly.
Kaeden got up to stand before the mass of people during the ceremony. He and his classmates read a story, each taking different pieces, all of them having a turn. And I heard that their reading wasn't strong, they stuttered and they had diffculty pronouncing words. They shied
away from the mike making it hard to understand. They sounded out words which were too big to get out in one breath. But you know what? They all did it! And they did it in a place where they were not only accepted doing it, but praised for the good job they did. I cried. Because seriously, how many times will my son be given a job so important and be given the chance to shine and do so with a group of people who accept him completely, for who he is, and even celebrate the young man he is.
I thank these young teachers, and specifically Bossie and his bride, for making their wedding a chance to do so much more than bind them in marriage. They also made awareness of kids with differences, and gave them a chance to prove just how great they can be, to shine before a large group of people, to say: Hey, look at me, I am A PART OF THIS SOMETHING BIG!
This little group, it may be small in size, but it's big in something more important: acceptance. And we could all use them as an example to learn from.