It’s taken me nearly fifteen years of being Cole’s mom to finally understand that at the end of the day if he’s happy, the rest is okay. 

The past year, fourteen months actually, has been a rollercoaster of discontent.  

Within this period, he’s had three surgeries, had one grandmother move away, one grandmother die, moved on from a beloved school where he spent nine years fully immersed in a community that celebrated and valued him, dealt with his dad and I stressing over where he’d go to high school, and then finally started high school. 

For much of those months he routinely came home from school angry and in a bad mood. 

Eighth grade also proved to be a transitional year for him as far as friends were concerned. 

It’s an age where everyone is dealing with hormonal changes and stress and kids seem to struggle to figure out where they belong in the social ladder. 

Kids he was friends with sort of moved on, not with the intention of being unkind or anything like that, but just in the natural progression of growing up. 

His class was also quite small, just under seventy kids, many of whom had been in school together for all nine years since kindergarten. 

They were like a big family, a big family who was sick of each other and who knew too much about each other.  

Cole suffered in his own way and often seemed miserable at home. 

However now that he’s started high school, he’s coming home tired after a long day but in much better spirits. It’s a huge relief. 

He likes the high school. He likes his teachers. He’s engaged. 

He’s starting to make some friends. He’s happy. 

If asked how he likes high school he lights up with a big smile. Phew.

There are still things that his dad and I are working with the school and school district to get into place to help meet some of his I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) goals and needs and things we’ve stressed about whilst trying to figure out what school would best meet his needs. 

But this week I’ve come to understand that the reality of all of the stress and worry doesn’t mean anything if he’s not happy. 

We could have all of the supports in place and everything working perfectly but if he wasn’t happy, none of it would matter. 

He loved this school when he finally toured it with his dad and has been happy to go each day. 

By all accounts he’s doing well in his classes, slowly trying to engage other kids, and finding his place in the community. 

My takeaway is that if he’s happy, the rest will fall into place, or not. But if he’s happy, I can breathe.

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