I know. You thought it was going to be all fun and games and enemas around here, but I’ve been thinking about things.
There are a lot of things that are difficult about having a child with special needs, and some of them are probably more obvious than others. I expect some things that are difficult for me are not necessarily difficult for other parents with children with special needs and vice versa. If there’s one fact I know about all of this, it’s there is no formula, no handbook, and no template to tell you how you are going to feel about the various challenges confronting your child and family.
After writing about Big Boy’s school, it occurred to me that I may have painted a harsh portrait of the place and the parents there. No desserts! Red late passes! Mothers that are lawyers! People that like kale!
I imagine you understand that his school is sometimes those things, but it is others as well. It offers a rich and stimulating education to my oldest child, a child that is often frightening in his brightness and sometimes exhausting in his incessant curiosity about how the work works. Big Boy LOVES this school. 99% of any issues I have with it are about me.
And, if I’m being honest, they are about me, in part, as James’ mom.
In life, in emotion, in love, and in loyalty, I like to go all out. Go big or go home. Be all in. “Clear eyes, full hearts. . . ,” you know the rest.
I can’t be all in with this school. James can never go to this school. It’s no one’s fault, it is simply the way things are, but I can’t help but feel a distance from the other families that bring their two, three, and sometimes four children to the carpool line. Many of the other parents choose to spend a great deal of time volunteering or socializing with the other parents, and I know this is a case of you get out what you put in. But I just can’t put anything else in.
It is taking all the courage I have just to put on the first available clothes and shoes in the morning and drive my brilliant, gorgeous, precocious son to a school filled with brilliant, gorgeous, precocious children. That is all I can put in right now. I know it is the right thing for him to be there. I love that he loves being there. But I don’t love being there. Not being able to have all my children happily ensconced in the same preschool is not the biggest difficulty or greatest sadness in our life, but it is difficult, for me.
Ironically, and perhaps unfairly to Big Boy, I’ve given my heart to another school. A school where James can go and develop to his fullest potential, whatever that may be. Big Boy and Baby Girl can’t go to this school. James has only been going to school for about a month. But somehow, it feels like the heart of our family is already inextricably knitted into the fabric of this school and its community. We are going on this journey with them and our entire family is invited, and I can’t express what that means to me.
Clear eyes, full hearts, Frankie Lemmon.