Friday, April 12, 2013

Hi Chrissy!

"Hi Chrissy!"

This afternoon Ryan had a long phone conversation with Chrissy, his old one-on-one teacher from Mount Verminon. This was the first time they had spoken since last June.

Before we moved last summer, Chrissy had assured me that she wouldn't drop off the face of the earth, but, you know, life happened, and somehow Ryan never fit into her schedule. Chrissy had been a very important person in Ryan's life for many years, and our move wound up cutting her completely out of the picture. This made me angrier than I'd like to admit - especially when Ryan started asking about her.

Frequently.

Asking about Mount Verminon. Asking to move back to The Old House, because in his mind that's where Chrissy was. I had all but begged her to come visit, or to let us visit her. I offered to match the money she would have made from her second job so she could spend some time with the kid. At one point I flat out told her that she was on my shit list; she didn't seem terribly impressed.  I don't take kindly to anyone who makes my kid cry.

Ryan missed her. I missed her. And I missed the effect she had always had on Ryan. The weird behavioral issues we've seen around here lately, well, I don't think our toilet brush would have wound up in my desk drawer if Chrissy had been around.

And beyond being a stabilizing force in Ryan's life, she had been a huge part of my own personal support system. She was my parenting coach, my crisis counselor, my emergency babysitter, my sounding board, my friend. And then we moved, and I felt completely alone, figuring out how to handle Ryan's transition to his new home/school/environment, learning about the Connecticut special ed system, not knowing anyone or how to meet families like ours.

So Chrissy and I scheduled a time when she and Ryan could talk on the phone. I wrote "Call Chrissy" on Ryan's daily list of steps (having a list to look at helps him visualize his day and eases transitions). I put my cell phone on speaker and dialed Chrissy, praying she wouldn't flake on us.

As soon as she answered, Ryan's face lit up.

Normally Ryan has little use for phone calls - he'll get through one or two exchanges with his grandmother before wandering away from the phone - but for this call, he was fully engaged. I wouldn't describe what happened as a traditional conversation, but Ryan and Chrissy sang songs together and interacted for a solid 10 minutes.

And since traditionally Chrissy Time was a one-on-one experience, Ryan insisted on being alone on the phone with Chrissy. He kicked me out of the room, shut the door on me, then had his own special time with his old friend. I tried coming back into the room, but he quickly brought the phone with him to his bedroom and told me to go away. And when I suggested maybe we should let Chrissy go because the whole "conversation" was getting too weird, he said, "Can I talk to you more on the phone, Chrissy?" So, you know, there was no saying No to that.

I won't reveal the finer details of their very private conversation, but Ryan seemed completely content, and Chrissy said it was a good way to end a long week.

I felt Ryan's relief.

And if things work out, they might even have an in-person play date next week.

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