Archive for May, 2010
I always feel somewhat melancholy this time of year; the school year is drawing to a close, and it feels like something important is ending. This year, something important probably is ending as it looks like we may move over the summer. We’ve been here for three years – just about as long as we’ve been anywhere since C was born.
There are many things I don’t like about this place we now call home. Class sizes are shooting up to 31 next year, the summers are beyond hot, and our state has just passed a new law that frustrates me to the core. Yet there’s also many things to love – grandparents that are 15 minutes away, an elementary school that has been nothing short of wonderful for C, and C’s friends. Yes, I did say “friends.”
For the first time in his life, C actually has a few friends. Whether it’s due to changes in him or just the luck of the draw with kids in his class, I’m not sure. But he seems to have eased into himself this year, and to leave behind the place that brought it out in him seems somewhat counterintuitive. Part of me wonders if we just stuck it out here, he would settle into himself even more. The kids know him better, and while there are still issues with a few children that grow in severity with each passing year, for the most part, I think C has found his place with the other children. Will that happen quickly in a new town, or will it take another three years for him to figure out where he fits? It’s hard to say.
Last year, when C was preparing to make the challenging move from lower elementary to upper elementary school, we discussed a myriad of options including having him repeat second grade. As we all sat around at C’s IEP meeting last Spring discussing the upcoming change that seemed so potentially traumatic, the lower el principal said something to me that I still remember. She said, “Have faith in your child.”
This principal knew something the rest of us did not. She knew – despite all our concerns about a new school that required much independence of the children, a new school that did not seem as welcoming to parents’ constant presence on campus, and a new school that seemed far less nurturing than the one where C was – it was not about all of that. It was about C. Madame Principal felt that whatever it was, C was prepared to handle it. And sure enough, she was right.
I feel fortunate to have recently been interviewed (see here) by one of my favorite bloggers ever, Caitlin, over on “Welcome to Normal, Population: 0” for her Mother’s Day series. Caitlin has landed in the category of women I call “Ones From Whom I Can Learn Much.” Go ahead on over there, read my interview, and then stay awhile and be inspired by Caitlin, as I am.
Kids pick on such weird things. My attempts to help C blend in are an effort to keep that teasing on a lesser scale. I say “blend in” almost rhetorically because C doesn’t blend in and frankly, I don’t really want him to. His uniqueness is what makes him so very delightful.
So my first response this morning, when the school’s physical therapist called to tell me C no longer qualifies for services in this area, was to be frustrated. Has she ever actually seen him run? Has she seen, as I have, the countless episodes of tittering that goes on behind his back as he runs by the other kids on the playground? (I used to say he ran like Forrest Gump; now he runs like Phoebe on the episode of “Friends” where Rachel was embarrassed to run with her because she looked so goofy when she ran.) Watching C run makes adults smile, but the kids just see a dorky little kid blowing by with body parts flying everywhere.
Oh, I know, running doesn’t really have anything to do with C’s education. At least that’s what the physical therapist will say at his IEP meeting on Wednesday. And I know Arizona, like no other state I know, is very generous in giving kids PT in school – even kids in wheelchairs didn’t qualify in the other states where C has attended school.
Still, I know better. The thing that the physical therapist doesn’t seem to understand is that for C, his educational health has everything to do with his emotional health. At the moment, he doesn’t see those other kids teasing him behind his back. But the second he realizes what is going on, the school will have a changed child on their hands. C will become, like every other time he’s realized the kids are teasing him, sad, scared, frustrated, and confused. C will suffer, and his education will then suffer. Oh, how I wish this woman understood that. I will do my best to make her understand, but if she doesn’t get it already I’m not hopeful I’ll win this particular battle.
As I watched C skip across a parking lot today looking very much like a four-year old just learning how to do that very difficult task, I couldn’t help but smile despite my frustration in losing the very person who could help him master the art of skipping. Yet the fact that he was singing “Zip-a-dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my oh my, what a wonderful day,” AS he was skipping across the parking lot merely added to my joy in the fact that C will never, ever simply “blend in.”
I’ve been absent lately because I’ve been struggling with a decision that would impact everything. Recently my dream job opened up. A job at a place where I’ve worked before and wanted to work again. The job I always swore I’d go back for if it ever opened and the timing was right.
You see, once upon a time I had a career. You know what happened next; that fateful (and thankful) day when C’s doctor told us he couldn’t get a cold until he was at least a year old (we made it 15 months). It took Husband and I about five seconds to decide that I would be staying home with C, and I never really looked back. Since then, I have been doing part time work from home when I can find it.
But this job, this one particular job, tugged at me in a way nothing else has since I said goodbye to the non-profit version of the corporate ladder all those years ago. This job was the one I’ve been waiting for – this job, which I just might get; this job that would allow us to completely flip roles and have Husband be the stay-at-home parent; this job at which I’d be really, really good.
My decision ultimately came down to one thing: this job I wanted, it’s all-consuming. It’s the kind of job you live, breathe, and eat. Fun, no doubt about that, but big. Too big. What I finally realized is that I already have one all-consuming job I love, and his name is C. I don’t need another.