Yesterday was the UC Davis Physics Department Picnic, where the staff honored David and three other senior undergraduates with a departmental citation for hard work. Then, Dave and one other graduating senior also received the Saxon-Patten Prize ($$), the department's highest undergraduate honor. Wow.
Dave has come so very, very far from the days when a lot of people told me I was crazy to insist that he would ever attend college and have a career.
Those discouraging days are truly behind us now. The UC Davis physics people don't even bat an eye at including David fully in their common pursuit of science. So what if he "spaces out"? Actually, a certain amount of it is required of all of them in order to think those big, scientific thoughts. So what if he stutters while explaining his ideas? It's worth being patient to see what sort of awesome science finally makes its way out of Dave's amazing brain and onto that chalkboard for all to see and benefit from. I believed the professors yesterday who told me between bites of potato salad and veggie burgers, "We're all really glad that Dave has chosen to remain with us."
It's like a giant, invisible eraser has come along and magically erased all the painful, tough years of tears. Sitting in the oak-dappled sunlight of the UC Davis arboretum, watching some grad students take my autistic son gently under their wings to teach him proper technique for sending a volleyball over the net, it finally, truly settled into the rested and ready marrow of my soul: David, my dear son, you're on a whole new path with a fresh, clean start, and the best of angels to guide you.
Ph.D... here we go!