As I was answering the phone from Max’s school I thought…maybe the nurse is calling to let me know I need to pick him up because he is sick or maybe the teacher wanted to let me know about something that had gone wrong when he arrived at school. Negative thoughts filled my mind when I answered the call.
Max says, “Mom get a vase ready…I need a vase.”
I need to hold off on that phone conversation and share what came in the mail a month ago. A letter from Max’s school.
Here is what the letter said,
CONGRATULATIONS! You are scholastically eligible for membership in the National Honor Society.
Candidates are evaluated on the basis of leadership, service, character and scholarship; if you wish to be considered for membership, your application and teacher recommendations will be evaluated by the National Honor Society officers and adviser, as well as a faculty council. The faculty council will consider each application and will make the final decision for membership into the chapter of the National Honor Society.
Membership in the National Honor Society is a significant academic honor, as well as a personal achievement.
When I read that letter, I thought, they have to be mistaken. They have made a huge mistake. I question myself under my breath, “My son who lives daily with Autism who needs occupational and speech therapy? Who was non-verbal until the age of 5 and needs help with learning how to spell and still believes in Santa?” Tears formed and poured down my face. They have got to be mistaken him for another student.
I folded the letter and placed it back in the envelope and told myself I can’t share this with Max. It would crush him to see they got him mix up with someone else and I figured he wouldn’t know what NHS was anyway. I can’t tell you how many years I have seen the honor roll student list come through my hands and never did I see Max’s name on that list. I have told myself that Max is already a star because he is amazing in his own way. I don’t need to see him on an honor roll list to know he is extra awesome. It wouldn’t make me love him anymore, because I already love who he is.
Who is Max? He is a teenage boy who believes in Christ, loves baseball, swimming and playing the viola. He loves being a Special Olympics Athlete and eating the same foods everyday for breakfast and lunch. He won’t eat any food that is green (he has been that way since he was 2).
Well, the weeks passed and early on a Monday morning I felt the spirit tell me to call his school and see if they had accidentally sent that letter to Max. The words “Yes, your son is eligible for NHS.” Made my heart burn and I realized that was the same day the paperwork needed to be sent in.
When Max arrived home from school I had him fill out the papers. His second grade hand writing was perfectly placed in the right spots. I don’t know if Max realized what NHS stands for and why he was filling out the paper, but I could tell he was thrilled to do so. We spent the next couple of nights talking about what NHS stands for and my hope was he would be accepted.
Hope and pray was answered when Max finished his phone conversation with me. “Mom I need a vase for my flower. I got into National Honor Society. They gave me a letter and everything. Oh Mom get the vase ready.” My heart was filled with joy.
When he walked in the door he held the flower like it was the most beautiful thing in the world and the letter was in his hand too. Here is a part of the letter…
Dear Prospective National Honor Society Inductee;
Congratulations! You have been selected for membership in the high school chapter of the National Honor Society. The NHS has worked hard to bring the accomplishments of outstanding students to the attention of parents, teachers, peers and the community. Chapter across the nation strive to give practical meaning to the Society’s goals of service, character, scholastic achievements and leadership.
Unbelievable that Max would receive this letter because when Max was 4 years old I was told he would never achieve the scholastic abilities of a child above 3rd grade level. I’m pleased to announce Max is in all resource classes and taking algebra. He has been out of an all day self contained class since 7th grade.
For those of you who have a special needs child like my son Max please don’t let anyone tell you they can’t achieve whatever they want to achieve. I can honestly say I never believe what the child psychologist told us. Autism is a different path of life for Max, but he is seeing that he can reach the same destination as anyone else. Only in a different is type of car and the speed it travels.