Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Each morning, I wake my special-needs son a little earlier than the others. Each morning, we trek to the bus stop and he boards the bus that takes him to a separate school from that of his neighborhood peers. It's been a long journey, but we've made so much progress.

A couple of years ago, as I loaded my son onto his special-needs bus, I noticed a new face peering at me. The bus driver told me that this was Connor, an itty bitty three year old. I leaned onto the head rest in front of him and smiled.

"Hello, Connor." I said.

He wriggled and thrust his backpack at me, but all he could verbalize was a mumble that approximated, "Bah-pah." He seemed thrilled to be riding on the bus.

I hopped down the bus stairs and turned to peer through the windows, hoping to see my son's waving hand. Instead I saw a wriggly Connor. As I shifted my gaze in order to spot my son, I noticed a film of dust that coated the windows. And on Connor's window, drawn in the dust, I saw a heart.

My breath caught in my throat. Likely just minutes before, his mother stood right where I was standing. She probably was a wreck with all those warring emotions -- guilt, fear, sadness, worry, exhaustion, love, and hope. All those washed over me as the wind from the departing bus whipped up my hair and I waved goodbye.

I should have left her a note in the dust, myself. Wisdom that I could impart from my experience as a special-needs mom. Something that would make her feel better, and let her know that things would be all right: That Connor will get off the bus again and be back in her arms. And each day will be a little brighter and a little better. But the window was small and surely would not hold everything I'd like to say about the long road ahead. Maybe, for now, I would simply write,

"Hold on tight."