Monday, August 30, 2010

Misha will make a great mother one day.

She is the eldest of the group of seven I’ve been assigned to. Misha doesn’t even seem autistic. There’s definitely something wrong with her. But she seems more intellectually disabled (mental retardation) than autistic. Granted, she does have that aversion to touch and sensitivity to fabrics, but does that make one autistic? I knew a whole family who couldn’t leave the tags on their clothes because it was too bothersome to them. They weren’t autistic.

Misha is tall and skinny as a rail. She comes from an interesting family. The youngest of five girls, Misha is the apple of her father’s eye. Her older sisters are much, much older. One has a kid that’s near Misha’s age. I can’t quite understand her family. Her father is always going to court, but he’s also always here in an instant when there’s something wrong with Misha. I’ve never met Misha’s mother. But I know she exists because I’ve talked to her on the phone.

Misha cried all of the time, but it wasn’t an annoying cry like Mikey. She cried silently and stoically. Sometimes, I didn’t even know she was crying; I’d look over at her and she’d have tears streaming down her face. Usually, it was for a cut she had gotten three days ago. Misha felt pain like none other. I felt sorry for her; I can’t imagine what it will be like when she gets her period. She’ll probably have to lie in bed for days and be drugged with Midol.

It’s hard to say that Misha was a touching child. She really wasn’t; you might forget about her because she was so quiet. And she stayed that way all year. Unlike Roberto, who turned into an unbearable child, Misha actually matured quite well that year. There were days when she took on the mother role so believably. Like the day she smacked Amy on the hand because she was so out of control. We all looked at Misha, silently, and then we corrected her. But how could we correct someone who wasn’t really doing anything wrong? She just knew how to be a mom.

Around the classroom, Misha was always willing to help. She’d hand out napkins or tie someone’s shoe. She was sometimes better than the aides I had. I really enjoyed having her around, if it was only for the extra help. I’m not quite sure was Misha had learned that year. There were some days when I’d think she’d made progress and other days where I believe she had regressed. She was a tricky child when it came to learning how to read or calculate numbers.

Did she touch my life you’d ask? I’m supposed to say yes, right? Maybe, in her own special way, but honestly I was having trouble remembering her name for this post. I’m glad I wrote about her, because I might have forgotten about her forever. Just another student whose face would be nameless. That would have been sad or tragic or something, so I’m glad I wrote about her before she was completely obliterated from my memory bank.


  1. Did she Misha learn anything? Anything she saw you do she learned. Any kindness you showed she hopefully learned. Great post! You are a sensitive person. I think sensitive people suffer most from the complexities of life and in specifically human relationships. Your posts are excellently written.

  2. I've been reading your blog for the last hour, and I just wanted to say thank you. I taught for two years in a pretty tough school in New Orleans, and I felt (and still feel) so many of the emotions you've described on this site. Thank you for actually putting words to them and sharing them.