The Boy has been travelling independently to school for a few weeks now. I was going to tell you about it earlier, but once again the fear I might jinx something that seemed to be going so well meant I left it for a little while, just to be certain.
I say travelling independently, he goes in a taxi. With an escort. But it's as independent as life will be for the moment, and he seems to love it. Mainly because apparently the car is better than mine. And although I miss our chats on the drive to school, I love this new found independence too. It's another opportunity for him to break away and be his own person without awkward, stupid Dad always stepping in and controlling things, even if it is with the best of intentions.
He travels each day with another lad from school, TheBoyWhoAlwaysCarriesHisTeddy, the taxi driver and the escort (in keeping with the rest of this blog I was going to call her Mrs Escort, but that just seems wrong on so many levels... we'll settle for Mrs T.). Each Monday follows the same routine, the week starts with The Boy and TheBoyWhoAlwaysCarriesHisTeddy sitting together on the back seat, with Mrs T and the driver in the front. By Tuesday morning they've been separated and The Boy sits in the front seat. I don't ask the reason why anymore, I've decided I'm better off not knowing some things).
Each afternoon when the taxi pulls up at the door to drop him off I hear The Boy and Mrs T chatting away together on the doorstep. Laughing. I know he likes her, and the bit that makes me happiest, it's very obvious that she likes him. As I open the door I'll interrupt their conversation mid-flow. The Boy will stop talking instantly, and I'm left feeling like I've gatecrashed the world's greatest party. Whatever they were talking about is of no concern to my prying ears. They can pick up where they left off again tomorrow. He'll say goodbye to Mrs T and step inside.
Her name will pop up now and then, but The Boy keeps their conversations to himself. And although it's taken some getting used to, I like it. I like that he's taking more and more steps towards a life outside me. I like that there are things going on in his world that I know nothing about. Like the time last year he came home from school and suddenly declared he liked football and supported Arsenal, despite showing no interest whatsoever at home. Sometimes as parents I suppose letting go can be as important as holding on.
I did get one little glimpse into his new life. At Christmas, he got out of the taxi with a present from Mrs T. I could tell by the shape it was an annual. I guessed at Doctor Who or Minecraft, thinking that I'd suddenly discovered the topic of their conversations all this time.
Of course I was wrong. He opened it, it was a football annual. Manchester United.
"Yessss!!!!", The Boy shouted.
"I thought you supported Arsenal?", I said confused.
"I do", he replied with a heavy sigh, feeling the burden at having to once more explain everything to someone so stupid. "I support Arsenal at school... I support Man United on the way to school".
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.