Every parent wants their child to have the ability to support themselves. I'll be honest, there were times where I secretly doubted that was possible for our boy.
Times in the muddy swamp land of school days with undiagnosed Aspergers syndrome, when I just despaired.
When he couldn't even remember two sequenced instructions and follow through ( not even on the first one!)
When his Grade 6 teacher told us he was never going to amount to anything..(yes he actually said it, in front of J-man)
When he was so sad and negative about himself I didn't even know if he would be here by the end of his cruel teen years.
When he got left behind, so far behind in basic reading and writing that in the end teachers told me he was really just coming to school to learn social skills.
Amazingly, and yet not so surprisingly, J-man has laughed off all of that.
He learned to read and write when he was good and ready.
He found a small but loyal group of friends at school and decided that he was just fine the way he was, and everyone else could just get over it.
He figured out the value of remembering instruction very quickly in Army Cadets when not remembering earned you a bawling out and extra duties.
He rolled with the punches dealt by the Australian Unemployment system which is a deceptive and unsupportive mess. He put his resume out there over and over, applied for countless jobs, shook hands, nodded his head and put on a brave face with every knock back. For 18 months he has tried and tried and tried again.
This week we had exciting news.
Jumping up and down in the kitchen with my mother, squealing and crying kind of news.
J-man has been offered ( and has accepted ) a four year apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery.
A local builder gave him a 4 week trial and was happy enough with what J-man did to offer to take him on.
We are so grateful that this opportunity is here, that J-man was able to focus and shine. The builder loves that he has got to work early every single day, and works til stumps. He loves J-mans attention to detail, that he likes to work on a task until it is perfect ( hello Aspergers!) and that J-man is eager to learn. He likes him.
We are already seeing changes in J. He walks a little taller, he has more self confidence when talking with his mates about plans for the future. He's concerned about the aesthetic street appeal of our house and is considering replacing the old window frames in the lounge room.
He's going to be okay.
Oh Happy Day!