Cole’s maturing in some ways and not so much in others. It’s a fascinating process to observe. He rails against our efforts to lead him forward but then has recently found preference in hanging out alone in his room, watching TV or listening to music for hours at a time. Up until this point, he’s never found comfort in himself so we’re thrilled by this typical teenage move. I feel great pride in his newly found step toward independence.

Also returning to school after the winter break has been surprisingly stress free. Prior to the break, the morning routine had been tough. For the first time, Cole was not enjoying school, which made morning prep difficult. He teetered between saying he was not feeling well, or was sad, or just angry. The past week and into the current week, he’s easy and happy about going to school. I’m not entirely sure what changed but he’s seemed to have found a way to look forward to school again. There was a change in staff, a new teacher who he has for both Social Studies and Language Arts, which may be part of the interest in school again. The former teacher never managed to understand the concepts of inclusive education so he had a lot of frustration of being overlooked in her classes. Whatever the incentive, it’s a relief to see that he’s found his way back to liking school and he came to it on his own.

When one is physically dependent upon others for nearly everything, developing self- confidence and having opportunities to find trust in one’s self is crucial to having good self-esteem. I see Cole starting to recognize that he needs time to himself and that he needs to have us (us as his parents, and us as all of his supports collectively) respect his choices and to provide as many opportunities for him to have more independence. For now, I’m proud to step back and support his efforts to stand away from me.

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