Monday, August 24, 2009

the long road towards acceptance {reposting}

There are times when I think I have come to accept the fact that I have a child with "special needs." He had his first ear infection at 4 mos., first tubes put in his ears at 10 mos., - by 15 mos we knew he had a speech delay and started early intervention. So, for essentially 4 years now, he has had therapy of one sort or another. We are still searching for answers and feel like we may never really know what exactly is going on. But we have spent years trying to figure it out already. You might think we are getting used to all of this somewhat.

I think I used to think that parents of disabled children must come to accept it at some point. But now I have begun to think, do they? Ever? Do you ever get over looking at all the "normal" kids and not fight back the sting of tears as you realize how far behind your child really is? Do you ever stop wondering what you could have, should have, would have done if things had been different - and would anything have made any difference? Because I have to admit I hate sitting in the children's primary class at church with Samuel, when he won't sit with his class by himself, and watch the other kids his age. I hate feeling kicked in the stomach when I don't know if he will ever "catch up" to where they are. I hate all the reminders I see of his "differences." Do other people feel that way too?

I went to register him for kindergarten the other day and felt singled out and sorry for myself that his class does things differently than all the other kindergarten classes. The lady who took our paperwork couldn't tell me when or if they would do pre-kindergarten assessments, or when or if his class list would be posted, or really anything at all. She didn't know about the special needs class, she said. And I know I should get over my own sorry self when it comes to all of this. It's really not about me. It's about what's best for him. And I know that. And I do feel this is best. But it is still hard to be the mom who has to explain to everyone, when they ask who his teacher is, or when they look a little concerned that he's running around babbling nonsense and actually going to kindergarten, that he's in the special needs class. It's hard to feel a little amazed at what the other kids are able to do at his age - and he is just ages away, it seems.

So, today we went in for his pre-assessment (we found out his teacher does do them). He did as well as I would have expected, although it is just nothing like what Abigail and Isaac were doing going into kindergarten. I try hard not to compare. But sometimes, it just slides in like a paper cut and stings all over again. His teacher seems nice, although she is just fresh out of college. I just hope everything works out. The good thing is that there are only 6 kids in his class, with the teacher and 2 aides. So that's a pretty good student-teacher ratio! I'm hoping that with the attention he receives, he will be able to work at his level and make lots of progress.

But I worry about a lot of things. A lot, a lot, a lot of things. And I don't know how to accept what is, and simultaneously work to change what can be. Or whatever. Will someone please tell me how to do this? Does anyone know? Sometimes I don't feel strong enough or courageous enough or assertive enough or like anything I am is enough to do what's required of me as the mom of this child. A new year has begun - and I'm not sure I'm up for it. The road ahead feels long. And I know, I know I'm not the only one traveling this path. And many many many are on a tougher journey than mine by far. Am I the only one struggling to come to terms with this challenge, in whatever degree of difficulty? Is it just me?

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