May 18, 2010. Today is a somber, reflective day for us, especially Pat, because its the anniversary of the day he lost his first born, Joey, who at 12 years old was killed when a car struck his bicycle. Its a private club to which no one seeks membership and from which, once inducted, no one ever quits – the club for parents who’ve lost children. As an outsider looking in, all I can do is love him, and let him know I care, which is what I try my best to do. It’s an anniversary he endures quietly and without companionship other than his memories of, regrets about, and unrealized dreams for his son, who by all accounts was a phenomenal boy. Tonight’s news would’ve been a real zinger regardless of today’s date, but because Pat is particularly vulnerable, his reaction, unlike mine, exudes deep, cavernous sadness. As for me, I’m mad, outraged, and looking for a brawl. For Peter, for our family, and for my beautiful, wounded husband, whose had to endure the death of two biological sons and now is saddled with dealing with our adopted son, a boy who’s beautiful by his own right, but whose disabilities seem to evoke the very worst qualities in those charged with the responsibility for his education. After dinner we discover that Peter wet his pants, but only slightly, during his afternoon ABA/VB session with Lindy, and that he opted not to tell her or us. This new but hardly surprising revelation led to the nearly daily discussion we have with him about the need to tell someone when he’s wet, even if his underwear and pants are not completely soaked, because its unsanitary and makes our home smell like urine. Because Peter has been more or less in a “good place” the last few days, he regrets his earlier decision to hide the truth and then adds an additional apology. He tells us he’s sorry for wetting “big” during school today, which is news to us. When I picked Peter and Sophie up this afternoon he had the same clothes on that he wore out the door this morning. We’ve been sending Peter to school in underwear ever since CPS was called, with ample changes of clothes when accidents occur. When I ask why he was wearing his same clothes from this morning if he wet, he explained that his teacher sent him to the nurse to change into his “spare” clothes, then she cleaned his wet-upon clothes so that he could change back before the end of the day, thereby eliminating the need for us, his parents, to know. “This can just be our secret” is what he says his teacher tells him. “Four times this did happen before, Mommy. I’m sorry,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “But that’s how they do it now.” He vows to tell his special education teacher in the morning that he can’t lie to us anymore, that he has to be honest, but we assure him that he’s not in trouble and that its our job to make sure the adults work together, not his. I’m so distraught over this news because despite the denials that no doubt are being scripted by the District even as I write, I know its true. Peter can lie with the best of them, its part of his disability, but his lies are simple, uncomplicated, and never involve multi-steps or imaginative deceptions. If this were a fiction instead of our lives, this whole drawn out disaster called public special education would make prime material for the Jerry Springer Show, perhaps a special episode featuring obstinate and ignorant school personnel who love to hate informed, educated, and zealous parent advocates. Maybe CPS could referee in case a fistfight erupts. I can almost smile thinking about it. If only Peter weren’t the victim. And if only today wasn’t the day Joey died.