Spring is a wonderful season, although very short in my home state of Maine. Winter seems to last forever and early spring teases us with a handful of sunny days amidst all the remnants of winter’s dreary gray before a sudden explosion of green late in April. While the rest of the country complains of pollen and many have been cutting grass for weeks I am still raking winter kill from the lawn. This year spring is extra special for Alice and me and I will be happy if this season passes slowly. Our daughter Rachel graduates from college and Matthew graduates from high school.
Rachel has worked hard in school, but due to changing her major twice ended up attending five years. Due the present state of the economy it may not be so bad although an additional year of tuition will add to her and our debt. She plans to attend graduate school next spring and will work this summer and fall to address her loans. Welcome to adulthood!
Matthew also worked hard in school. He is ranked academically in the top ten percent of his class, been active in several school activities and volunteered regularly at our Senator’s local office. When Matthew was diagnosed, the Duchenne literature painted a bleak picture for him making Alice and I uncertain of this moment ever coming. Fortunately we never stopped challenging him or his brother Patrick and both are headed towards higher education.
Graduation for Matthew will be difficult for him. He has many close friends and has really enjoyed high school. I’m sure there will be many tears, hugs and long goodbyes. I hope to not hear a parent telling students how high school is the “best time of your life”. I don’t believe it and I want Matthew and his peers to realize the things they do next will be even more exciting and important.
The next steps Matthew takes will be in a direction that is both exciting and frightening. Like all things DMD, we hang onto hope that his physical ability and endurance will allow him to carry a full load at school. I look forward to Matthew going to class, meeting new people and studying the subjects he enjoys. Alice has met with the university’s disabilities administrator and we have spoken with people at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and prepared a 504 Plan for him. Matthew has toured the campus and spoken with staff and students. We’ve done much to prepare and need to take this one day at a time.
Spring will quickly evaporate into Maine’s brief summer taking us quickly into fall. This fall Matthew begins a new phase in his life and I couldn’t be happier and more proud, yet always tempered by reality. We are proud that our children have been serious students and are doing the things they have worked for. This fall will be an anxious time, yet I am also happy for the opportunities that await Matthew.