I've read a lot about Schuyler lately. Most of it is appreciated, some of it has been dead wrong, and a little of it has been unspeakably cruel. A lot of strangers who will never meet her have said the most amazing things on her behalf, and some people who claim to care about her have led the devil straight to her doorway. This is all the result of the attention I've brought to her, and by and large, this mostly encouraging attention has been for the positive. I confess that when I think about the public scrutiny I've brought to Schuyler's life, I stay up late some nights wondering if I've done right by her. But I still somehow manage to get some sleep.
Much like myself, I suppose, it's safe to say that neither the best nor the worst that has been said about Schuyler is accurate. Schuyler isn't an angel, nor is she a pathetic misfit. She's a developing human in transition. Lately I've been more and more aware that she's leaving her little girl life behind, to be replaced soon (if it hasn't begun already) by her time in this world as a young woman. In three months, she'll become a teenager. Many of the storms that await her are driven by her disability, but some of them will simply be a result of being a teenager, in a world where teenagers strive to be anything but different, even as they struggle to find their unique place in the world.
Today we had lunch with Schuyler, at her school. She's still struggling to find her place in her seventh grade tribe, although she's made some small steps in the right direction. For now, we go to her every Friday, to her mysterious delight. (Because seriously, if my parents had ever shown up at my school to eat lunch with me, I might have ended my life with the school-provided plastic cutlery.) We bring her a burrito bowl from Chipotle, along with one for her SpEd teacher, and for half an hour we live in her world.
As she sat and looked around, finding boys to tell us about, I took out my phone and snapped a few photos. It wasn't until later that I looked at them and realized that my phone has a feature I was unaware of. It apparently has a time machine app that allows me to glimpse into the future.
Because this isn't a little girl. This is a young woman, and a father's heartbreak.