Our now handsome young man is all of twelve years old and just this week, a whole chapter of his life has been completed. It was with immense pride and joy that we sat in our local church at the Graduation Mass for our boy and his fellow 6th class pupils. All parents were naturally emotional and brimming with pride.
Our journey has been a little different to all of his classmates however. He may have taken a slightly more circuitous route but he took his rightful place, with pride, in their midst this week. To look at him this whole school year, let alone this week, one would hardly believe the roads we have traveled to reach this glorious intersection in his life.
His primary education began in a special needs school with the absolute goal of full integration in a mainstream school firmly in our sights. That goal, and all others set for him over the intervening years have been positively achieved. It has not always been easy and we've dealt with all sorts of issues on the way such as behavioural, homework and fussy eating. He was surrounded by a great team though, with school, SNA and his parents all singing from the same hymn sheet. The most important, eager and willing participant, it must be said, was the child himself. See, he really, really wanted to succeed and succeed he absolutely did!
In some ways this was the toughest school year with one major and still ongoing blip marring his incredible journey to date. However all blips are life lessons, experiences we can learn from and hopefully move on from. It has been a positive year too and he has truly blossomed and matured. His class trip was an amazing experience for him and the Graduation celebrations this week have been very grown up. Apart from getting their shirts signed that is....he managed to also get the top of his undies signed too! Don't ask...I was afraid to! They had a 6th class party the night of the Graduation Mass and even though he doesn't like noisy discos long may that last he attended... and enjoyed! His proudest achievement was that he was the only one not to cry and that he lost account of how many hugs he gave. Or stole! We also had a parent/child Chinese meal out last night which was a lovely way to finalise the celebrations of this momentous stage in their lives.
I will end this post back at the graduation mass where a lot of red-eyed children and teary adults were in attendance. The parental pride and joy was palpable as was the capabilities and endless possibilities ahead for these wonderful graduates. The future of Ireland was in the church that day. They have all had an amazing journey to date and another one lies ahead.
There were naturally many emotional moments and the carefully chosen hymns/songs aided and abetted our tears. For most it was the final song 'You Raise Me Up' but for me it was 'Climb Every Mountain' that made me cry...and wish that I'd brought some tissues!
To the Graduate Girls and Boys of 2012 I say stay true to yourselves and echo the refrain of the above song..
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
'Till you find your dream...
NOTE: Apologies for not visiting your blogs recently and for not posting much here. I will visit you soon. The situation I talk about in Tough Love still continues although thankfully the patient has improved somewhat :-)xx