Measured Disappointment

Today was awards day at Shelby’s school. Shelby got an award. The Gifted Gator award. It was a new award for her so I was kind of excited to see her get it.

Well, Will was whiny, I couldn’t get any pictures and 90% of the kids in kindergarten and first grade got the same award. It was disappointing because I had tried to find out more about the award beforehand and the school had nothing about it in the handbook, the website or anywhere. And to make matters worse, I feel bad about being disappointed. I’m happy Shelby got all Cs and Ss for her special classes and is doing satisfactorily, no doubt, but I don’t know it warranted ceremony. I’ve never been a huge fan of participation awards and that’s essentially what this award was. The kids who got citizenship awards…now they were individually recognized and had behaviors to back up why they got them. That deserved the pomp and circumstance. But, sadly, Shelby’s award really did not.

It wasn’t a total wash. Joey clapped enthusiastically for every child and I was really proud of him for that. Shelby’s behavior was stellar. I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in literally five years. And when Shelby’s name was announced, her friend Lars, who is in her class, said “YEAH!” and started clapping. That touched my heart. Here was a child with autism cheering on one of his peers with autism. It was a total win for both of them, even if only his parents and I knew it.

Monday Shelby’s classroom teacher will give out more personalized awards for the kids during a smaller ceremony. This is much more our style. Shelby will be recognized for real accomplishments and it will be celebrated with people who know her and appreciate her.