I drove out of the hotel parking lot this morning with more than just coffee fueling my tired body. It was bound to be a full one; taking Wolf to the El Dorado Gold Mine to show him the ins and outs of Alaska's chief mineral mining process, visiting the Fairbanks School District to sign papers releasing them to do necessary testing, and taking Wolf to a potential school where, I knew, a fight was imminent.
My expectations were unfounded, however, for as much work as Wolf needed to do throughout the day to maintain his behavior standards and not break down into tears when we arrived at the alternative high school to where he will be placed, Wolf did fantastic.
Not to say that he didn't have his difficult moments; kids with Asperger Syndrome always will. But he rallied, pulled back, and was willing to listen to what we adults had to say.
House Parent N. accompanied us to the gold mine and had a great time. New to Alaska from Kansas, N. had not panned for gold before and found the opportunity sort of fun, and quite educational. It was nice, too, to see how N. managed Wolf's actions and words, and I'm sure it was nice for him to see the same from me.
School is going to be different for Wolf. It concerned we adults that asking him to mainstream into a large public high school when he has never before had such an opportunity would be crazy, and potentially set Wolf up for failure. So we are enrolling him in a small (23-student) high school operated in partnership with the School District and a family service organization.
Once Wolf found out it would not be like CHYC-unlocked, he calmed down, checked out the classrooms, and met the teachers, all of whom are absolutely incredible individuals. I continue to feel blessed by the amazing people we are meeting up here. Everywhere we go. All the time.
As a reward, I took Wolf to buy some "necessary" school supplies, consisting of graph paper, a zip-up binder, and a stash of pens/pencils. Since he's not had the chance to buy supplies in quite some time, this was a special event, indeed. I sweetened his behavior pot further by buying him a model and the necessary accoutrements, and when I left Arctic Manor this evening, he was peacefully organizing his new Titanic model.
I feel as if we both are waking up and seeing each other for the first time after a long, long, winter.