June 21, 2004
Today was Benjaminís last day in public school. He wonít be back next year.
As I was standing with Pam, his friend, companion and educator for the past 5-years (I canít bring myself to call her his aide), I watched him walk the schoolyard holding hands with one of his classmates. All the other children were running around Ė excited by the prospect of summer vacation, but this girl was taking time away from everything else to walk with Ben.
Watching I sensed that she knew holding his hand was more important . . . she could always join in later or next year. Pushing back a well of emotion, I smiled. His last day.
They had broken away from the hubbub and were heading toward the fields. Their little group had grown to five. Watching, I expected the group dynamic to change. I was sure talk between the others would distract them from Ben, he would become a bystander and they would rejoin the celebration.
I was wrong. Two more classmates joined his group.
Standing next to me, I heard Pam tell me how good the kids are at gently changing Benís direction. I could see Benís smile. The entire group was smiling and I couldnít help but smile as well. The moment was broken only when everyone was called to lineup for their formal dismissal. This was Benís last.
Ben, I donít know if we will find you friends like this again. I donít know if we ever really did. Itís more likely that they found you and you found them. All I can do is try my very best and watch you work your magic smile in the next adventure. You always do.
Ben & His Dog | Morning Breakfast | Ben's Words
Big Ben | The Farmers Prayer