What parent doesn't dream of the perfect morning before school? Mine would entail a little girl who climbs out of bed just as the alarm goes off, pulls on the clothes set out for her the night before without complaint, brushes her teeth, sits quietly while I run a brush through her hair, and gets to the bus with plenty of time to spare. Of course, we've never had one of those mornings in our house. We're more the "get to the bus by the skin of our teeth" family. No wonder the threat of a stint in jail for a mom in Michigan for her autistic son's frequent tardies is scaring the pants off of me.
Andria Black's story is the kind you hear and say "there but for the grace of God go I." The school's counting a series of 10- to 15-minute tardies as absences, and they're threatening J'Rez's mom with jailtime for his truancy. But the single mom to a 9-year-old with autism says his condition sometimes makes it impossible for her to get him moving in the morning, and she'd rather the school give her son make-up time than put him in foster care while she sits in jail.
How can I not feel for her? Just this week, I called my daughter's teacher in part to talk about our morning issues so I could make some headway. My kid is sent to bed at a reasonable hour every night, and she flat out refuses to go to sleep. And surprise, surprise, when the alarm goes off in the morning, she's tired and cranky. My husband and I bear the brunt of her attitude, and that perfect morning is drowned out by shrieks of "I don't wanna" and demands that she "put that shirt on right now young lady."
We're still looking for answers, and so far we've avoided drawing the school's ire. But then again, we don't have a child with special needs. Andria Black does, which only doubles my sympathy for her. Because if I am struggling with my kid who is not autistic, I can't imagine how much harder she has it with a child who has a verified condition.
And after watching a clip of her spelling out all the efforts she's made, I am left with this feeling in the pit of my stomach:
At least she's trying to get her kid to school! Isn't that the best sign of a good mom? That she's trying?
When does doing everything you can to get a kid moving in the morning stop being enough? Do you struggle in the mornings with your child before school?
Image via WXYZ