Not a Fashion Post: It’s All About a Boy

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This story is about a boy.
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meandethan
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Those of you who know me well, know I have a son I am fiercely protective of. (I have a daughter too, but today isn’t about her story.) I am very private about my kids; I post about them every now & then, but never use their names on social media, because someday they will be online too, and will want to define their own identities, not necessarily as “Tanya’s kids.”
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But today is different, because today brought a miracle, one I am too grateful for, to keep it a secret!
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Everyone, this is my son Ethan. He has Asperger’s, and being his mom has given the most beautiful, stressful, challenging, amazing, soul-searching, character-building 12 years of my life.
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I’ve watched him battle through the first year of his life with chronic illnesses, and saw the changes that took place in his personality by the time he was two years old. I’ve been with him through years of countless doctors’ office visits, neurologists, testing, therapies, & classes. I can’t even begin to tell you how many forms, questionnaires, and applications I’ve filled out for his care, stacks and stacks of papers… Ethan is an incredible young man, with so many amazing gifts to give the world! My heart longs to see my son shine past his challenges, and live a full and happy life.
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Today, a little of that dream came a step closer. Today we found a place for Ethan, a very special, unique school that will answer many of the prayers I’ve begged Heaven for, over the years.
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What’s the big deal about a school? And why is this news-worthy?
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Ethan was doing ok in school, until the fourth grade. That’s when the bullying started, at Summerwind Elementary. He was shoved, picked on, and called a “weirdo,” but despite long meetings with school administrators, they did very little to protect him.
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Daily he was bullied, and so confused; he knew he was a kind, smart kid, so why did they seem to dislike him so much? When it got so bad, that he started asking about the least painful ways God could please just take him to Heaven, all the breath went out of my body, and the world stopped spinning. My 9-year-old son wanted to die. Still, the principal at Summerwind had the nerve to say, “We’ll, maybe he is just perceiving bullying that isn’t there, because of his Asperger’s. This kind of stuff wouldn’t really go on in my school!”
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ethan2
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Have you ever wanted to pick up your chair and hit someone with it?
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Long story short, he’s been in a small, private school for the last couple of years, where he’s been safe and protected, and had some time to recover from the trauma of his bullying experiences. He has been in a class with one teacher, and two other special-needs kids. This school is going out of business next week, and we have been frantically searching & praying for a new place. He can’t go back to public school; his needs were not met, not by a long shot! (All the charter schools have already had their lotteries, and I am NOT equipped to homeschool him.)
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This week we heard a rumor that a “special needs school” was coming to Meridian. Through a series of “random” events, I found myself, today, sitting in the office of that school’s principal! She explained to me her passionate heart for learning-challenged kids. She told me that her students are taught to appreciate their disabilities, and see purpose in their challenges! They are taught that what the world sees as “weird,” or negative, are precisely the things that give them strength, uniqueness, and a special perspective on life that many people aren’t blessed with.
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Then she told me his class was full.
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My emotions broke. I can’t explain the despair and heartbreak I felt at that moment. Somehow, I managed to sob out, “but he has no other place to go!”
She reached across the desk, took my hands, and said, “Then we will find a way. I think Ethan belongs here, and we have to find a way to make room for him.” And she handed me the application papers.
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Yesterday, I was a despairing woman, searching for a safe place for my special kid. Today, I have hope, and a miracle!
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After all the struggles, challenges, tears, and prayers, we finally have a Place for Ethan. A place where he won’t just survive, but will thrive! A place where he will be challenged to grow, but accepted for Who He Is. A place that recognizes the gifts my son has to offer the world, and will partner with me to help him achieve his potential.
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A place, a hope, a miracle! Today my heart rejoices, and is overwhelmed with gratefulness.
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At long last, my son has help, and a place to shine.
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A place to be Ethan. 🙂
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Xoxo,
Tanya
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ethan1
P.S., In case you are wondering, Ethan gave me permission to post this. But for privacy purposes, I am not posting the name of his new school. If you are interested in knowing more about it, please email me at StyleSpyGirl@yahoo.com!

14 thoughts on “Not a Fashion Post: It’s All About a Boy

  1. Oh my goodness! I literally have a tear rolling down my cheek. My heart swells for you and your family. I know you love your kids like a fierce mama bear! I’m so happy to hear of this news! xo

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  2. Thanks for sharing. My daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers this year. She is 8. I worry about the day when bullying starts so much. Right now we are in the Meridian school district as well but still mucking our way through public school. So glad to know their are others out there.

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    1. There are many out there, Celina! The principal of Ethan’s (hopefully!) new school calls them “Gap kids.” Asperger’s kids are smart enough that the schools try to mainstream them, and that does work for some. But when it doesn’t work, there are few places around here for them to go! Utah has a Spectrum Academy, which is a charter school of kids on the Autism spectrum. I wish they would open one in Boise, too!!!

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  3. What a wonderful, wonderful story. “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Phil. 4:6 I am just thrilled to rejoice with you in this. It’s huge!

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  4. I am so happy for you and Ethan – what a long journey and boy is he lucky to have you as his Mama Bear to get him what he needs. Praise Jesus! I know that you are lucky to have him too, and I look forward to you getting to see him blossom in a place that appreciates all he has to offer.

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  5. My dear Daughter and Grandson. What thrilling news! I’m sure this will help open the door to a better future and lead to expanding possibilities for the Greatest Grandson in the World. You have had to bear the burdens of misunderstanding, frustration, and judgment for the past 12 years. I am SO proud of both of you for carrying this added load with grace and determination. Ethan, when Grammy and I get to be with you, such joy wells up in our hearts. You are caring, loving, funny, and so smart. I learn something new about space or computers every time we’re together and I always anticipate with great delight hearing a new catalog of jokes. And when we get to talk without being distracted by other things, I can see wonderful glimpses of wisdom, understanding, and thoughtfulness shining from your eyes and coming straight from your heart. You are one of the greatest joys Grammy and I have! Tanya, with all the uncertainties and demands of living such a busy and productive life, you have had to endure many extra challenges. From my vantage point, you keep moving ahead with fortitude and amazing resiliency. In the latter characteristic especially, you remind me of your Nana Gunderson. I’m inspired by the example of love and resourcefulness shown to your family and friends. I love you both dearly (along with Trevor and Ellia) and am literally rejoicing at this new school opportunity. God is with you.

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  6. Oh Tanya!! I am so happy for Ethan. For all of you, but especially him. I am smiling with tears rolling down my cheeks. I love you guys!

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  7. I am in tears, and so happy for you! He is a very special gift from God and you have been by his side to protect and love him always! You are an awsome mom!! I know Ethan will shine!

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  8. Tanya, What wonderful news how God has provided for your little boy!!! I know how it is to have a ‘special needs’ son and sometimes it’s very difficult!! Our Joey is now 28 years old! God has helped us with his challenges but it’s never been an easy life. He is still living with us and we are grateful for his love of physical work. He is helping Dave take apart our deck this week and loves pulling out the nails. There is grace for the challenges. I love you Tanya and pray for all the grace you need in the future. HUGS! Love, Melinda

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