Tag Archives: autism

Moving Up – Part 2…

So, it’s Sunday night…  We moved him in this morning.  Henry was tense – I was tense.  He was “snappish” with me – although, to be fair, trying to put a duvet into a duvet cover is an exercise in patience and frustration…

When we left, he walked out to the car with us, where there were prolonged hugs.  I got in the car and started driving, and thought – OK!  I’m good!  This is an exciting time for Henry and a new chapter for me (and Left Brain).  This is what you work for, right?

We decided to golf today – why not?  Beautiful day – no reason to have to rush home…  We met a group of friends who immediately asked about Henry – thankfully, I had my sunglasses on.  The problem with writing a blog is that everyone knows what’s going on in your life – which is also a good thing.  But today – all I could do was nod – “yes – Henry’s good – I’m fine” – and then I had to go to the bathroom where I began to cry in a piteous way.  And I’m afraid I’m one of those “ugly criers”…  I had to do this privately.  Once recovered, I rejoined the crowd (with my sunglasses firmly planted on my nose – no need to share my swollen, red, puffy eyes…)  Later, my eyes would be red and puffy because of the pathetic “play” on the course, but that’s another story…  Just as an aside, I have to send big thank you’s to all my Mom friends, who have been so supportive and understanding during this time.  They all “get” what a big thing this is for Henry and for me.

I kept my phone on today, just in case…  Henry hardly ever calls me, unless there’s a money emergency!  He called three times today.  I was pathetically glad to hear from him.

So…. my baby’s gone for good.  But even worse, what if he comes home?  Will he make friends? Will he leave his room for fun stuff, and not just to eat?  Will he have a good time?  When you’ve spent so many years controlling an environment for your child, this loss of control is excruciating.  I know I have to let go, but jeez – it’s hard.  I have a headache – think I’ll take two Advil and go to bed….


Moving Up?

Wasn't sure whether the Clampetts or Jeffersons should be used for this blog...

Wasn’t sure whether the Clampetts or Jeffersons should be used for this blog…

We turn the corner into the driveway – it has become a familiar drive – and I have an overwhelming sensation of wanting to throw up!  This is something that I haven’t felt since pregnancy, and/or an unfortunate experience with Harvey Wallbangers…..(and Long Island Iced Teas… in fact, any drinks whose syllables are longer than 3 should be avoided altogether – but include in that category wine which is being “refreshed” by your brother-in-law, who has decided that food is an unnecessary distraction!  But, I digress…)

I am moving Henry into residence today.  I’m so conflicted….  We have been working towards this goal for almost 19 years – I’m not sure we’re ready… (Henry and I… not Left Brain (he says he’s looking forward to some quiet in the house – I may have to become obnoxiously loud).

So – let’s talk about Henry first.  He is at turns very excited, and then lashing out at me.  The lashing out is always explained by him…. “I’m under a lot of pressure right now Mom…”  SO AM I, I want to shout…  Back to yesterday…  We paid extra so that he could move in early, before the throngs of kids who will be coming on Sunday and Monday.  I had prepared and purchased everything that I thought he would need (see earlier post, “Please Don’t Make Me Go….”)  If he was missing anything, then I would have time to get it before his official move-in date.  We forgot a few things at home (my fault – I should have checked exactly what he was packing in the car…)  After a bed check – this one is too soft – this one is just right;


we began to put a few things up on the walls.  I bought some of those sticky things that don’t mark the wall.  And they don’t mark the wall!  But they also don’t stick the desired poster to the wall!!!  Figures!  So Henry laboriously peels and sticks 50 more little squares to adhere his calendar (so he can stay organized) to the back of the thing and then repositions it on the wall.  Two minutes later – clunk!  Not working – whereupon he’s about to launch into the stratosphere.  I am making a list as we go along to note anything that we need, or isn’t working.  When he’s calm (sort of), I show him the list so he’s reassured that we won’t forget anything.  Also, so he can contribute anything that he thinks is necessary!

Now… how am I doing with this transition?  I don’t know yet – we’ve been so busy this week that I am at turns agitated (read:  can’t sleep), and then so exhausted I sleep straight through with no remembrance of dreams.  Of course, I can hardly recall my name when I wake up, but that could be a menopause thing…  One of my BFF’s asked me this morning whether I needed a hug… I said yes, but declined because I was afraid I would start crying and not stop.  I called my Mom and Dad today (it’s their 55th wedding anniversary – way to go!!!  that’s a looong frikking time….)  She remarked that I’d probably have a great weekend (number one son left today as well).  I said, “Noooo – I don’t think it’s going to be a great weekend….”

We move him in permanently on Sunday.  I’ll let you know how it goes….

Looking for Mr. Right….

A little too tall for my taste, but otherwise, not bad.....

A little too tall for my taste, but otherwise, not bad…..

Tall, dark and handsome, perhaps??  Well… if I were writing this ad, and I’m not, because I’ve already found Mr. Right, but if I were….  “Average height (because tall people make me nervous…), dark and handsome.  Must be smart, have a good sense of humour and athletic (not a superstar or anything – but someone I can play tennis and golf with for eternity…)  Must be willing to NOT sweat the small stuff, and definitely not take oneself too seriously.”  Didn’t I luck out 26 years ago (!!!! – has it been that long already?)

But this ad is not about what I want…. It’s about what Henry is looking for in a roommate at college.  On the residence website, he was asked to describe himself – an ad, as it were.

“I am extremely introverted and socially awkward.”  (Good start!!!  What a selling feature!!)    “I hate loud noises and can’t stand strong smells.”  (He does realize he is a part of male teenagerdom, doesn’t he?  Aren’t all teenage boys loud and smelly?)   “I am frequently claustrophobic and need quiet to do my homework.  I am interested in science, specifically, green technology, as well as astronomy, but not pseudo-science like astrology.  I am into PC gaming and all technology.”

OK then….  Any takers?  The drill on this website is that the kids can surf, and shop each other.  If they like what they see, they can hit the bid.  So Henry waits….  A day before the deadline, a kid picks Henry.  And then unpicks him – defriends him – 10 minutes before the deadline.  That’s cold….  Henry was insulted – and then worried.  Because at this point, the college picks someone for you.  “But what if they pick a douche to be my roommate?”  I’m trying not to laugh, and calm his anxieties – because it is no small thing for him to have to share a space with someone for the next 8 months.

One of my chief concerns about Henry living in residence was the question of a roommate.  He definitely has sensitivities and has very little tolerance for alternate lifestyles (all those that differ from his own….)  He needs downtime and quiet every single day – but will especially need it when he’s dealing with a new environment and all of the academic challenges ahead.  I was relieved during the college campus tour to see that the rooms in residence consisted of two separate bedrooms (with doors), which are connected by a common lounge area, kitchenette and a bathroom that the two share.  Thank Goodness…. I wouldn’t have to make a request for him to have a room to himself (which I was fully prepared to do)….

The college has selected a roommate for him – Henry has not contacted him yet.  But we are talking this up as an exciting opportunity – a branching out – an important part of his college career – making new friends.  We will take it one step at a time – as we do with everything!  This kid doesn’t have to be Mr. Perfect – just perfect for Henry….

Please Don’t Make Me Go…..

I am prepared to bust a commonly held myth today….  Not all women like to shop.  There!  I said it!  In fact, some of us dread it….  Especially when they have to shop for and with their very particular, sensory challenged sons.

So – let’s set the scene.  I tell Henry last week that I will have time to shop with him on Monday for his new bedding for his dorm room, and maybe a couple of new shirts (he doesn’t seem to grasp yet that he won’t have someone doing his laundry twice a week come September…)  I let him know we’ll be going when I return from yoga in the morning – not at 1:30 or 2 p.m. when he rolls out of bed (quite the summer schedule – but let’s not go into that right now…)  So – I go to yoga to try and get into the right frame of mind and stretch out my muscles – try, if you will, to get my shoulders down from around my ears!  I’m trying to breathe into one of my last poses, which after 3 1/2 freaking years of practising, I still can’t do without assistance!!!!  (“Ohm – serenity now,” she thinks as she’s grunting into this pose….)

Marichyasana A (pron. marry-ches-se-na) - and that's not me!

Marichyasana A (pron. marry-ches-se-na) – and that’s not me!

So I get home, get ready and get Henry in the car.  I feel relaxed!  I’m ready for this!  I’m pumped!  We’re going to have some quality mother/son time….  I look over at him — he’s got a huge frown on his face.  Great!  This is going to be the usual torture….  Can’t I just have an outing where we cheerfully pick something out, pay for it, and go home?  Even better with him saying, “Wow Mom!  Thanks!  Really appreciate you taking the time and effort to get me something that I’ll like!”  Nirvana!!  Something to shoot for?

Anyways – that’s not what happened.  At this time of year, finding flannel sheets is damn near impossible….  But that’s what feels nice against his skin….  Christ!  I find a clearance table with amazingly, flannel duvet covers!  Unfortunately, most of them are Christmas themed – I also don’t want him to look like a dork in his dorm….  We find something appropriate – but no go on the sheets.  I want pillow protectors, but all they have are waterproof – does that mean they will make that crinkly sound every time you move your head?  That’s not going to fly!  Jesus!  Can’t anything be easy?!  We try to pay and the little zippy-thing that takes your card isn’t working…  The sales lady has to re-enter everything again on the other side….

We schlep everything to the car and come back to look at shirts.  We start to peruse….  He’s says he’s NOT buying anything that HE DOESN’T LIKE!!!!  (He thinks he’s being discreet….  he’s not….)  We pass the underwear department – “How are you fixed for underwear Henry?”  “I’M FINE!!!!”  You see where this is going….

On the way home, I’m silent.  I’m so pissed off I’m afraid if I say anything, I’ll start shrieking uncontrollably….  I park…  We start talking….  It’s always the same….  When he’s feeling anxious or stressed, he lashes out at me (while I’m trying to do something for him incidentally…)  Knowing this doesn’t help when it’s happening.  It sucks.  My shoulders are somewhere around the crown of my head – I don’t have the energy for more yoga….

News flash….  As I was writing this last paragraph, Henry came into my office, hugged me and told me he was sorry….

May I Help You?

That was my opening line….  “GO F–K YOURSELF!!!  AND F–K YOUR MOTHER TOO!!!”  OK… so this is not going to be a productive discussion….

Let me explain.  About a week ago, a Homeless Dude started sleeping on a bench outside the bank, which is at the corner of our street.  A couple of days ago, said Homeless Dude started exploring the neighbourhood – and decided inexplicably to target our house.  We live in a very distinctive looking house, in a large city, just off a main street which is on the subway line.  Very convenient for us and our kids to get around – and Homeless Dudes….  So, on this particular day, I heard a “ruckus” (that’s code for a guy yelling obscenities) in my driveway, whereupon the above “conversation” took place.  Upon realizing that nothing was going to be gained by engaging in conversation, I went back into the house and proceeded to lock it down.  As I watched and listened, he paced around the front of the house, yelled that he “did too live in this house, you f–king b–ch” and generally did not give me a sense of well being….  I called the police.

“What does he look like?”, the dispatcher asked.


“Kind of like Santa Claus, except he’s wearing a red and white hockey jersey, dark pants and a baseball cap – and he’s extremely angry and yelling obscenities,” I say.  But he’s a dirty, nasty, belligerent Santa – like Dan Ackroyd in Trading Places!!!  (I don’t supply this helpful information to the dispatcher….)

The police came and I assume took him to a homeless shelter somewhere downtown.  But in the meantime, I tell Henry not to go out because this guy is wandering around outside our house.  No need to impress Henry with this info – his eyes are as big as saucers, and he’s pacing upstairs in his room.

Fast forward to Saturday night…. 9:45 p.m.  Homeless Dude is back and pacing outside our house again – in the middle of the street so that cars have to slow down.  Some of the drivers try to talk to him and are greeted with the same kind of scintillating conversation that I encountered on our initial meeting….  I warn our older son, who is due home from work soon to be watchful when he gets home.  Henry is pacing again – and completely pissed off – his pizza schedule has been disrupted!  Homeless Dude wanders off after yelling at the front of our house for awhile.

I’m jerked out of sleep at 2:45 a.m.  I think there is someone in our room!!!  I grab Brian’s chest hairs and yank!  (He was already awake… now he’s really awake…)  Nobody’s in our room, but Homeless Dude is standing under our bedroom window in our backyard, rambling and yelling obscenities at the top of his lungs.  I call the police again – Henry is pacing upstairs (he’s on the third floor)….  After I hang up the phone, I talk to Henry, who’s crouched and looking at me through the stair railing.

I guess the point of all this is that besides the obvious problem of these poor, disenfranchised people having nowhere to go; Henry was terrified – and we were here with him to reassure him. He’s leaving to live on his own in two weeks (granted he’s in a dorm room)…  But he was totally freaked out – how is he going to deal with the weird, wacky shit that happens from day to day on his own?  All I can think of is that scene in “Big”, where Tom Hanks spends his first night alone in New York City in some seedy hotel room, and he starts to cry and wants his Mom…..

Top 10 Survival Tips

If you can survive it here, you can survive it anywhere!!!

If you can survive it here, you can survive it anywhere!!!

My grandfather used to say that travel was a “damned expensive way to be inconvenienced…”  No truer words were ever spoken, but travel can be enjoyable.  The list below is a reference for myself – and if it helps some of you… then great!

1.  ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS – If you think you’re going to go, go, go…. stop, stop, stop and think!!!  The extra stimuli, strange surroundings, new people are all overwhelming and hard for an autistic person to deal with on a daily basis, but especially in a new and strange place.  On our trip, I scheduled one event per day – if we managed more than that, BONUS!!

2.  ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B – I can’t state this enough!  It’s part of that Adaptible & Flexible thing – and that’s YOU being flexible – not expecting your child to be!  In a perfect world, it would be great to just go to an event without an “event” – but not always possible – so have a backup plan…

3.  FIND ‘HENRY-FRIENDLY’ RESTAURANTS – This is a double-edged sword however.  Make sure you like the restaurant as well – because you will likely be eating there multiple times!  One night when Henry suggested McDonald’s, I asked him if we could “try” the Italian restaurant a block down.  When making my reservation, I warned them that only plain spaghetti would do – and hopefully, that wouldn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of the genius at work in the kitchen….  We ate there 3 times – fortunately, it was excellent….


5.  HAVE AN ITINERARY – Two reasons; 1.  It calmed Henry to know what we were doing from day to day; and 2.  If I had missed anything, he could offer suggestions.  I also scheduled one free day in case we wanted to do something again.  But just a tip on San Francisco – I had loosely thought that we would ride the cable cars on Saturday….  bad idea….  the lineup for the cable car was over an hour long – should have done this during the week….

6.  BE EARLY FOR EVERYTHING!!! – Now I don’t know if this is a particular autistic thing, or an OCD thing of Henry’s, but he’s NEVER late!!!  I’d rather be early and waiting around, rather than cutting it close, and both of us whirling into an anxious spin!!!

7.  PACK SNACKS – Because of Henry’s particular food issues, it would have been helpful to have some crackers and bananas in the backpack, just in case.  This would have circumvented some seriously “hangry” moments.

8.  BOOK A HOTEL WITH A POOL – This is a great thing when you have those ‘dead’ times – it also completely tires out your kid…  So, Henry toddles off to the pool one late afternoon, while I proceed to the outdoor courtyard with a book and a cheeky glass of Pinot.  He’s having a grand old time until another guest has the audacity (!!!) to also come in to use the pool!  Since the other guests were not deterred by “The Old Stinkeye” treatment, he came back to our room….  Still, mission accomplished!

9.  KITCHENETTE – Or better yet, a condo.  When the kids were younger, a condo was non-negotiable.  Relying on restaurants for all meals is a drag – and let’s face it – we’re not talking gourmet tastes here…  Being able to make plain pasta, have some staples and stuff for sandwiches for me for our outings would have been extremely helpful!

10.  BRING PROPHYLACTICS – Bahahahahaha!!!  (See Adaptible & Flexible???  Part 3….)  Perhaps not – certainly this is in my future before he departs for college.  More of a life lesson, n’est pa??

In the end, the only important thing, is that we both have fabulous memories from this trip, and seeing a huge grin on his face was worth any amount of inconvenience….

Look at that smile!!

Look at that smile!!


Adaptable & Flexible??? Part 3…

So – it’s Thursday and I feel that we’re in a pretty good routine now.  We have located an Italian restaurant nearby that doesn’t mind bringing plain (and I mean plain) pasta for Henry (as well as 3 Cokes/meal….)  We know where the McDonald’s is (where blessedly there is a fabulous bakery/sandwich place that uses authentic sourdough bread – for me, of course!!) – there is a Fivebucks in the lobby for me…  a little market across the street for snackies and bananas (our reliable fallback) – and a very interesting trip to the CVS the other day!!!!  Let me explain…..

We were on our way back from another outing, when I ducked into the pharm for some supplies – seeing the grocery aisle, I quickly and astutely thought, “Staples for Henry…”  We grab a basket, fill it with cereal, bananas, Oreos, granola bars (for me), and pop.  Whilst looking for eyedrops, Henry comes across the prophylactic aisle.  Now, as much as I like to be prepared for anything….

Girl Guide... Cub Scouts... whatever - always prepared!

Girl Guide… Cub Scouts… whatever – always prepared!

I really don’t see the need for this trip….  And he was drawn to the Optic Blue – do they glow in the dark or what?  Upon reflection, this could come in handy….  but not today.  When he points out that he’s leaving for college in the fall and will need them (maybe), I tell him I’ll load him up on whatever colour he wants!!!

So – back to the food….

World famous pancakes!

World famous pancakes!

Today we stood in line for this place – he was dubious, but totally worth it!  Next post will be Survival Guide for Eating in a Foreign City While on Vacation with Henry….  (maybe I’ll work on that title….)

Adaptable & Flexible??? Part 2…

I’ve never been to San Francisco, so like Henry, was really excited about this trip.  There is so much to see and do and it’s a great walking city – one of the things that Henry is very good at…. with me trailing behind him…. (I have reminded him that his legs are at least a foot longer than mine, but to no avail!  I’m old and lazy, apparently…)

So we land and pick up our luggage in a short time.  I lead Henry outside to grab a limo – I figure the setup is like Toronto’s – limos in a line like cabs to take you in comfort where you want to go. All of the drivers are holding signs – amazingly, none of them say, “Christie, where would you like to go?”  So we walk down to the line of yellow cabs, with Henry trailing behind, saying, “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?”  Well, kind of….sort of….

At hotel and unpacked – Henry is a good roommate – he likes things put away and NEVER loses anything!!!  Brian and I think he’s got his first nickel ratholed away!!!  At this point, he’s starving.  Right!  Off we go to the Embarcadero.  There is a huge refurbished building with a market in it – there’s beautiful cheese shops, organic hippie stuff, delis with delicious looking salads, gluten free bakeries (no go there!), but nothing for the chicken nugget/pizza man…. (I’m reminded of the GREAT CHICKEN NUGGET CAPER – see earlier blog, Food, Glorious Food!!)  At this point, I’m thinking just a croissant to hold him over – we find a bakery with lovely macaroons in every colour, but NO croissants!  What the hell?!!!  We’re now desperate…  He’s got the same look on his face he used to get as a little guy when he was frustrated….

Xmas03 3

Eureka!!  We find a hamburger joint as we’re leaving…  We order chicken fingers with fries (they’re hand dipped and real chicken – not sure whether he’ll like them or not – they’re back up…) and a hamburger, plain.  Oh – and a glass of rose for me…  It finally comes, he’s eaten half the hamburger, puts it down and it falls ON THE FLOOR!!!!  Oh my freaking God!  I’m halfway between wanting to laugh and scream – he’s got a look on his face like he’s about to cry…  I immediately spring into action…. SUPER MOM!!!! to the rescue.  Tell him to eat “my” fries and chicken fingers, while I go and order another hamburger…. (oh – and another rose…. I never said I was perfect….)

Perhaps an outfit for a Friday night??!!

Perhaps an outfit for a Friday night??!!


Adaptable & Flexible???

Geared up for our trip!!

Geared up for our trip!!

It is June 30th, and Henry and I are going on his “GRAD TRIP”!!!!  His brother went on a trip with a bunch of his friends to a music festival in Nashville, Tenn.  So, we thought that Henry should be given the same opportunity….  I asked him where he’d like to go… “Paris,” he answered.  “Great idea,” said I….  “But no… Where else?”   “London, England,” he said.  Again, with a laugh, I answered, “No…. How about somewhere in North America?”  Keeping in mind economy and the fact that Left Brain has not been to Paris….  I think that the next time I go, I’d like to be there in a more romantic capacity….  Perhaps next year for our 25th anniversary??  So, after much thought, he came up with San Francisco.  The next trial balloon he floated was perhaps going with a couple of friends?  Uh…. no.

So here we are at the airport, with an hour to spare before boarding.  It has gone smoothly and he is calm.  Henry, like me, likes to be early for everything….  He comes by this OCD characteristic honestly – it’s not just his anxiety or autism….

Not so calm now....

Not so calm now….

This is when they have started to call the flight…  I’ve explained to him the order of sequence of people getting on the flight…  Notice the line of people to the left of Henry!  He says he’s paranoid that we’re going to miss our flight (even though we’re 30 feet from the departure gate!)  I’m calm….  I tell him, “We’re good – don’t worry.”

We get on the flight and we’re settled.  Then we don’t take off for an additional 45 minutes because of some mechanical issue, and I can see his anxiety starting to ramp up.  Once we’re aloft, the pilot tells us that there’s some unsettled weather over the midwest and there might be some “chop”.  Fabulous!  I can deal, but he’s holding my hand like we’re going down on the Titanic….

Then comes the whole ordering of lunch.  Now – let’s face it….  Airline food isn’t exactly gourmet (not that that’s the standard my son is used to – more like Pizza Pizza on a daily basis…)  But I’m hoping that the bland pizza that they have might pass muster….  I knew that food was going to be an issue on this trip.  Many friends spent time giving me restaurant recommendations for this trip.  I listened politely, but knew that I would have to find out where the McDonald’s was, or a Pizza Hut….  So, tragedy of tragedies, the pizza does not “look” like his regular pizza – the pepperoni slices are too big – he’s put off.  It’s also too hot for him to pick up…  So I’m sawing it into little pieces, and encouraging him to take a bite, because most of the pizza we’re going to see this week will not look like Pizza Pizza’s….  One bite, and he’s done…  Good God….

Air Canada's pizza does not look like this....

Air Canada’s pizza does not look like this….


Happy & proud - you earned it!!!

Happy & proud – you earned it!!!

So, as I promised, I thought I would share my thoughts on graduation…. A Monday morning quarterbacking, if you will….

The day after graduation, I dragged my butt into yoga – I felt incredibly tight.  I realized that the previous week, I’ve been clenched in anticipation and dread, and my body was feeling the effects.  I was still dangerously close to crying if anyone asked me anything about Henry… God – what’s wrong with me?!  This is a happy time!  Not only has my son worked his butt off, but its the culmination of a hell of a lot of hard work and anguish on my part (not that he’ll ever know this…)

The room was about 150 degrees Fahrenheit…  Do schools do this on purpose?  I think churches do it too for weddings….  There were 10 graduates, all marching in with huge smiles on their faces.  The evening began with awards (not just to graduates), which are voted on by their peers.  The awards are based on the 6 core values of The YMCA Academy – I won’t bore you with all of them, but Henry won the Responsibility award.  In his entire high school career, not one assignment was handed in late – I think he only missed 5 days of school in 4 years!  His favourite teacher “Z”, gave a very funny presentation of Henry.

I have to give a huge shout out to the extremely enthusiastic and energetic teachers that were all there for the big night.  Three of Henry’s teachers, who have enjoyed his wacky sense of humour over the years, actually looked depressed!  So – the diplomas…  Everyone got one – Thank God!

Then the kids were given the opportunity to speak, if they wanted.  Not one to miss an opportunity for the dramatic, Henry opted to go last!  I don’t know where he gets this from!  (Left Brain is rolling his eyes at this one!)  So – I’m waiting in anticipation – I’ve been pretty good as far as not breaking down and crying so far.  Then one of his classmates, who has been with Henry since Grade 1 in Dunblaine and is a lovely girl, got up to speak.  She started crying in her first paragraph, thanking the school, her parents (her wallet and rocks), and eloquently telling us what it means to be in a place where her learning disability wasn’t something to be ashamed of.  Where she’s been allowed to shine and excel.  There was not a dry eye in the place…

Henry is next…  He talks about his dreams of eradicating the world from stupidity!! (to huge laughs of course).  I’m only concerned with our small corner of it at this point…  He thanks his teachers and the school, his friends, and lastly, his parents, for the love and support (and being his bank)!

Just so you get a sense of the thespian's abilities....

Just so you get a sense of the thespian’s abilities….

I’m reading this back and realizing that it doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel on this night.  I can’t be eloquent or clever enough to express my feelings.  All I can say is, Holy S–t!  We’re here – my son has graduated!  We weren’t ever sure we would be standing here at all.  When we began the YMCA, I asked whether he could graduate without math… I asked how long would he be allowed to stay in high school (until the age of 21, FYI…)  And we’re here!

One final note…. Henry received an Ontario Scholar diploma.  This means he obtained an average of at least 80% in any six of his Grade 12 courses.  What a guy!  We are SO proud…