Yes, as my beautiful boy happily enters the hallowed middle school doorway, movin' on up as a seventh grader, Ryan will not look back to sixth grade days gone by.....ever. I want to apologize in advance to all his former sixth grade teachers, the 6R Team, but, just like George and Louise (aka, Weezy) moved to that "deeeeluxe apartment in the skyy-hii-hiii" after they finally "got a piece of the pie", their old neighbors in Queens, Archie and Edith Bunker, became a distant memory. Ryan will remember you all fondly, but, now that he has moved on up to the East Side, chances are he won't ever look back down. Yes, in this scenario you are The Bunkers and sorry, but, chances are also good that you won't make a guest appearance in a later episode.
Sometimes I think this behavior is a result of autism's hold on Ryan's brain and he sees little benefit in a long term relationship with someone who has fulfilled their purpose. He needed you last year, you did your job so well last year, that he no longer needs you this year, so, sayonara, end of story.
However, sometimes I think this love 'em and leave 'em attitude has nothing to do with autism and Ryan's brain, but, more to do with his heart. As I have watched my boy love and leave so many, I believe this attitude has more to do with protecting his sensitive, beautiful heart, than his atypical social and communication skills. Good byes are hard, pretending he never knew you is easier.
Ryan cries at the end of every school year, rejoicing in his success at getting closer and closer to finding his piece of the pie, but, sad that it is once again, time to move on up. Ryan truly loves the folks who helped serve him his piece of the pie, but, it's easier to just toss his pie plate aside waiting for the next bigger piece of pie than it is to get caught up in remembering all the ingredients it took to make that pie. It's not that Ryan doesn't realize the sugar, the butter, and the milk is what made his pie so sweet, it's just that eating the pie and tossing the plate aside is a lot less stressful on his overtaxed brain and a lot less painful on his ultra sensitive heart.
It has happened year after year, Ryan will pass his former teachers in the hallway and they may occasionally get a grunt or a halfhearted trying not to smile smile, but, chances are much higher that Ryan may completely ignore them. Some of Ryan's most beloved teachers have come to me at the beginning of the next school year, gripping their heart with a look of confused bewilderment in their eyes, and before the first syllable starts to from on their trembling lips, before the next beat of their abandoned heart, I know exactly what they are going to say, "Ryan just ignored me....again."
As for you sooooooooo....last year teachers, still hanging out in the 6th grade hallway of Queens, sorry, but, you are no longer needed and you have quickly been replaced since my boy has moved on up. Ryan may occasionally allow his doorman to let you visit, but, chances are you won't get a key to his new place.
Trust me, this summer more than ever, I have felt the love'em and leave 'em attitude as my almost teenage son has decided he no longer needs me to tuck him in at night, snuggle him or kiss him when "WE ARE IN PUBLIC". Just last year, before he moved on up, as a 6th grader in the Queens Borough hallway, I bragged about Ryan walking hand in hand into school with me, giving me a big "I love you" hug at the bus stop and not giving a hoot about what his fellow neighbors in Queens thought about his public displays of affection with dear old mom.
I know that part of growing up means moving up...without me...yet I know that I will always be a part of Ryan's life. And on the days where I feel more like Florence the housekeeper than good old mom, I will keep in my heart the days gone by when a little hand warmed mine as we walked down the street ("IN PUBLIC"), I will touch my cheek right where his sweet little lips use to hurriedly brush across as he ran to the bus ("IN PUBLIC") and I will remember the AWE in his voice as we watched popsicle sunsets on our front porch back in the good old days in Queens, before Ryan moved on up.
As for you glorious 6R teachers, still hanging out in the Queens Borough Hallway, remember that alone, you may have been the 2 tbs of butter, the cup of sugar, or the 1/2 cup of milk, but, combined together, you, along with every other teacher Ryan has been blessed to have, all helped my son get that elusive piece of the pie.
So, if you catch a glimpse of my boy movin' on up, through the seventh grade hallways on the East Side, keep saying hello, keep trying to reach him because I promise you, you have made an everlasting mark, even if you are ignored, you have not been forgotten. And if you keep trying, I promise, one day, you may be given just a tiny little crumb of that pie you helped bake, in the form of a smile or a quick hello, which may not be as filling as it once was, but, I hope it will still be equally satisfying.
As for me, well, just like Archie Bunker watched his former neighbor George Jefferson move on up without him, I will grumble and complain about being left behind, but, inside I will be beaming with pride hoping that one day, my boy remembers who was always by his side helping put all the necessary ingredients together before he finally got a piece of the pie. And selfishly, like any mom who loves her son and never, ever wants him to move on up without her, I will constantly remind Ryan that "as long as we live, it's you and me baby, there ain't nothing wrong with that".