1992 When my daughter Chloe was born my father wrote two things in her baby book. The first read “different is good” the second one was “life is about the moments, I hope you have a few good ones” he then called her Turtle for a number of years because well, she moved slowly and carefully most of the time and she still does.
Fast forward to this last weekend, I was driving alone in the car to a bat mitzvah service. This was a busy weekend for us, Chloe’s high school graduation happened and Sunday we were hosting 60 or so guests to our home for a party to honor her graduation. This Bat Mitzvah was for my lifelong friend’s daughter, it could not have come during a busier weekend for me, but this was after all my friend, and a mitzvah. My baking and party preparations could wait. I left the house in a bit of a hurry, traffic on Walnut Lake road was at a complete stop between Middlebelt and Orchard Lake Road. I could see traffic backed up for some distance, from my vantage point I noticed a large snapping turtle was creeping across the road, very slowly unaware of the back up of cars. A large utility van had stopped on an angle to prevent traffic from crushing this creature. The driver in the van was going East and another driver going West both exited their vehicles to protect the turtle. One had a long piece of wood and was using it to gently guide the turtle across to the wet lands, to safety. Horns began to honk impatiently, some cars attempted to move forward into the path of the now stopped turtle and others turned around frustrated, unable to wait, maybe not seeing what was happening. Tears came to my eyes, I have often watched as my child moved slowly or took longer to absorb the world, unaware of others reactions around her. Like the turtle, my daughter has “made it” and today I saw the turtle with his new found friends make it across the road to safety. I applauded and cheered through my open window to the friends who had saved him. They made his way safer, more comfortable. I saw the turtle swim into the wetlands as I drove on to the service, naturally, I was late to the service. This turtle had some challenges that day but he had friends too who helped him and most of all, he had a moment, a fantastic moment where he slid into the muddy banks of the wetlands, home again, safely.
The phrase “back to school” inspires both joy and trepidation. When a student has special needs, those emotions are magnified and the checklists are multiplied. There’s nothing simple about t...