By April, normally spring is in full swing. Birds chirping. Bees buzzing. Flowers blooming. The sun is illuminating the sky with a huge smile, giving us the beautiful weather we’ve been craving to have. I absolutely love spring. To me, it represents freshness, newness, purity and life. And after an indescribable winter — literally and figuratively, you’re hoping for a new day. . .and night. One day in April (a few years back), I went to pick up my son from school. Thus far, it had been a good day. No worries. . . .so I thought. Upon my arrival Callie stands scripting and waving his hands in front of his face while his Functional Academics teacher, paraprofessional and his Science teacher are huddled up in deep conversation. The fact that no one was talking to Callie or really looking in his direction (which is always a problem for me), I knew something was wrong. But the clear indication that a predicament existed was the presence of his Science teacher, who I knew by face but his name forever escaped me. He was never at the afternoon pickup and even if he was there to substitute for another teacher, his afternoon duty would have been over by the time I picked up Callie. I was greeted with a hug from my son and then blank stares from the faculty members before me. The Science teacher opens up by saying Callie had said a bad word. I put Callie in the car with his tablet. I could tell that this was a conversation for my ears only. I returned with a look of disbelief. My thoughts went haywire. “What?” “What on earth did he say?” “Where did he get it from?” “Is this a word embedded in his memory or is there a possibility of deletion?” And again, “What?” My mouth remained shut because slowly “You can’t be talking about my child” was tiptoeing through my mind. In our house, the “s” word is stupid. The “d” word is dumb. Until Callie came to the understanding that those words were not too nice to repeat (especially to an individual), some of his favorite cartoons were banned. Lucy had caused us to only watch Charlie Brown, for awhile, on rare occasions because of the “s” word. I was told that a few of Callie’s classmates overheard him use the “sh” word. My body felt weak and then paralyzed. So many emotions came over me. I wanted to laugh because I thought this was a joke — a cruel one but nonetheless a joke. Confused and skeptical — thinking that this had to be a mistake. Angry — not because I was oblivious that one day he may hear someone swear and even attempt to repeat it without the comprehension of the meaning, BUT I’m angry because of the why. Why today? Why ever? And I’m shocked. Here today, in one hand, was a gorgeous spring day that was to symbolize how I wanted life to be, yet in the other hand laid crushing & mind-boggling news that I should have been accustomed to but had a hard time accepting. In my dreams, the two (spring vs any perplexed situation in life) were never to overlap. Sadness overwhelmed my thought process and the only thing left to do was cry. I honestly felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach. As a parent, you work so hard, trying to teach the right thing and prevent your child from doing the wrong thing, and then a jaw dropping incident surfaces and you’re left wondering what happened. For a few minutes, I stood there crying. To some, this may sound elementary. It may not be such a big deal. But as an autism parent, I worry constantly about “out of the ordinary” things that pop up. Any changes to correct one problem may cause additional problems, and because you’re not prepared and don’t have any solutions up your sleeve, it’s another thing you have to try and figure out. I was at a standstill, casting blame on myself. What did I overlook? Why didn’t I see it? Fortunately, Callie’s FA teacher was very supportive. She spoke up and said she’s never heard Callie say any bad words and wasn’t convinced he had. An expedition of the truth was where her head was, and if this was indeed an issue, she was determined to put in place a plan of action. She then looked at my red, puffy eyes & stained face and replied, “Until then, he’s fine.” Although I wasn’t sure of the outcome, her words gave me incredible peace.I appreciated her not holding onto the accusations but feeling the necessity and the right to give Callie a shot to prove himself . . .even without him realizing it. I did my part too. A week later, both his teacher and I came up with the word “ship.” That word was used a lot in a Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventure episode — the same episode his classmates heard him repeating when they overheard the “sh” word. When Callie says “ship”, it sounds like ______. Need I say more? I was relieved but I was more grateful. His teacher heard the issue and saw my son, and her heart knew the story was incomplete. Something was missing. Something didn’t add up. I felt this way too, but sometimes after awhile, you become numb and your ability to rationalize and fight is impaired. So I’m thankful for the truth and for the genuine kind soul that presented it. Spring WAS in full force, but I learned that even though the sun may be shining, rain can be in the forecast. . .at times, a higher percentage of heavy rain can occur and if you’re not prepared, you are likely not covered. Still good can come out of this season. A surprise or two. You never know. . . . .There just may be someone when you least expect it who will hand you their umbrella of compassion.