In the sixth grade my teachers took my class to the swimming pool on Fridays to work with the kids from the Alice Hatch Center.
The Alice Hatch Center was a preschool for kids with special needs.
I can’t remember any of the kids, or what kinds of “needs” they had… except for one:
Jonathan was “my” boy.
He was three years old, slight for his age, with blonde hair and gray-blue eyes.
Jonathan had autism.
For whatever reason, Jonathan decided he liked me and trusted me.
I was the only one he’d swim with.
To say we were buddies was an understatement.
I loved that kid.
I’m pretty sure he loved me too.
I looked forward to seeing him each Friday afternoon.
That was when I decided I wanted to be a child psychologist and work with autistic kids.
I was eleven.
Obviously that dream didn’t stick with me for the long term. (It did for about 4-5 years though!)
I’m no child psychologist today, nor do I desire to be. But I always have had a special soft spot in my heart for kids with special needs.
They are so often misunderstood. Misunderstood and even feared.
I sometimes think about Jonathan today. He would be about 26 – all grown up. I dont even know his last name.
I wonder if he lives independently and what his life is like.
I sometimes miss him too.
What great teachers I had – Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Fox – who gave their sixth graders a chance to help kids in need, and a chance to be changed in the process.
Q for you: What special person from your childhood do you miss?
Click Clink Five is a blog by Adriel Booker. | Five minutes a day, unedited. | 2012 All rights reserved. | Adriel also writes on parenting and motherhood at The Mommyhood Memos.