College orientation. It was truly an unforgettable day with my oldest.
Just one week ago, his graduation was a time filled with looking back at his schooling and memories. Today was a day filled with anticipation of the future. Spending the day with him was exactly what my soul needed as his life in recent months has been occupied with friends, high school and social life. To come back together, to make decisions, to listen to him process his future goals, will forever be embedded in my memories as a great day.
It seems that my life these days is filled with decisions. I have always felt like I was a fairly good decision maker. I tend to make ’em and move forward. Sometimes that can be good, and sometimes not so good. These days, I am more mindful about decisions, and therefore it appears to me that it is also more grueling. Decisions made in a flash may not cause immediate anguish, but long term they may…..
Right now I am faced with housing decsions, job decisions, school placements decisions, financial decisions, pet decisions and more. With all those decisions, I find myself digging deep and searching inside for the answers. I know that they are there, if I can just let go and listen.
In addition to the huge housing decision and the incredible amount of change that will create for everyone, I have spent the last few weeks working diligently on my girls schedule for next year. We have four years left so I am hopeful that it will be valuable and productive. Again, I say ‘we are moving forward’, that means we are not going to sit in an academic classroom getting less out of it than in a functional, purposeful setting gaining skills and creating independence. In working to ensure that happens, once again I have been seen not as a parent seeking the best possible outcome for my child, but as an unreasonable, demanding bullying parent. Thirteen years I have walked the tightrope of advocating to demanding. I am exhausted. Thoughts of homeschooling enter my mind; finding volunteer opportunities at an animal shelter for my girl or the local hospital, taking on-line ‘credit courses’, seeking part time employment, discovering activities she would get social opportunities. Nice thoughts, but how I would accomplish that and work two jobs and raise a 12 year old boy, I do not know. The bottom line is, when parents get so frustrated with having to advocate (and then be considered demanding), that they would actually consider homeschooling to avoid that, there is serious concern. It shouldn’t be a battle year after year. She shouldn’t have to miss out on opportunities because a building sees me as unreasonable when really I am only stating what is written in her IEP.
So that leaves me with this.
The school decision: go to a high school that already hates me and she hasnt even stepped her foot in the building? Switch high schools and she starts all over with peers? Home-school, quit my job?
The house decision: stay in a house that I cannot afford, don’t want to take care of and am really done? Move to a smaller place where boys may have to share a room? Move and hope to God that the change doesn’t set my girl back? Stay? Struggle? Wonder?
The job decision: being on the Autism Team for the district AND having to fight so hard for my own kiddo is a conflict. In advocating, I am destroying professional relationships, although I am also opening doors for those parents that just simply don’t know there are options. Step away from autism and find something else?
The financial decision: see housing and job
The pet decision: if I move, one dog has to go…
The fact that it is 230am and I am writing tells me that I have too many decisions to make, tonight anyway. Perhaps the decisions will come in the form of coincidence. I will be sure to listen and watch, just in case.