One of the cool things about working for a bank is that we get the occasional random day off. Yesterday was one of those days, Columbus Day. While Amber had to trudge into work, I had the day to myself. Which means I had a chance to make Kaitlyn’s day one that was full of surprises.
While the morning started off as every other morning does, I think she knew something might have been up when I told her to make sure to give her teacher the note I wrote. She didn’t read it before I put it into her bag, but the note let her teacher know that Kaitlyn would not be going to the after school program yesterday; she was going to be picked up immediately after school. It is a rare thing for her, and she loves it. She feels like she is on top of the world. Kaitlyn would have been happy just to have been a part of car pickup, but I had bigger plans for her.
I decided that just picking her up right after school was not enough. I figured I would surprise her and have lunch with her. I showed up at her school about 10 minutes before her lunch started, and waited in the office, looking for her class. As soon as I spotted her class, I joined them in the march to the cafeteria, and Kaitlyn wore a smile from ear to ear. Either there is a new policy in place or Kaitlyn decided on her own, but as soon as we got inside, she led me to one of the tables on the stage; we would be up on the stage for all of the other kids to see. She was proud to have someone eating lunch with her. We were joined by two of her classmates as well. A few of Kaitlyn’s friends in other classes waved to her on the stage, and two kids that were in her class last year yelled at me, “hi Kaitlyn’s dad,” so I made sure to wave at them. While I enjoyed sitting on the stage with her, I had to control myself to make sure that I did not educate one of her classmates. This girl, who apparently thinks she is both smarter and better than everyone else, for some reason thought that she would educate me on the characteristics of kids with autism. Her information was off-base and wholly incorrect; I did correct her a few times, but gave up when I realized I would have better success if I chose to talk directly to the table. She certainly did not know that Kaitlyn has autism, or maybe she did and is just an inconsiderate little girl.
My final surprise of the day came after I picked Kaitlyn up after school. Instead of going straight home, I took a detour. Kaitlyn was not too happy at first, and asked why I missed the turn, and she let me know I could turn around up ahead. She also told me that she would be telling Amber I got lost on the way home. I asked her to not worry about the route I was taking and instead to look for Halloween decorations, which she actually did (that was a surprise to me). I did not turn around at the next turn, but took Kaitlyn to get some frozen yogurt instead. She was really excited and happy.
We capped off our great day by getting in a run after Amber got home. I am so glad I got to spend the day surprising Kaitlyn.