We’ve been in California a little over a month. Hurrah! In another post, I will update you on life in general, but this particular post needed to put out there now. Badly. This one is not just for me, but it is for every mom who is fighting to help her child overcome disabilities or struggles.
Jake has been in his new school for a little under a month. We expected things to not go well since it is typical for kids to regress after a life upheaval such as moving 1,200 miles away from everything they know. However, Jake has done really great. Until last week. I went to pick him up from school and found out that he had hit someone. Hard and with a closed fist.
My heart sank not only because that was really bad news, but it could also mean that Jake could get kicked out of the school.
I already felt sick, but then, in the conference I had with his teacher, I got even sicker. Suddenly, my parenting skills were called into question. Again. The assumption was made, several times, that we don’t know what we are dealing with in Jake’s little body. I was told I needed to get help. I was told I needed to develop a plan for consequences for hitting.
In the middle the conference, I started to get angry. Every single one of those comments and questions have long since been addressed, thought through, dealt with, planned for, and all around exhausted.
The good thing about me is that I have the ability to act like this…
when I really feel like this…
So, nobody got hurt and nobody got yelled at and everyone still likes us and we are not banned from any school or office or educational facility of any kind.
I was so spoiled in Colorado. Everyone knew us. Everyone knew our story. The special needs community is a small one and so our story followed us wherever we went. Even when we saw someone new, they already were aware that I was a very determined, involved, and informed parent who was going to do the absolute best for her child.
I’m trying so hard to remember that this new batch of people/teachers/therapists simply don’t know us yet.
I’m also remembering, again, for the bazillionth time (thanks to a reminder from my own amazing mom), that I AM THE EXPERT.
I don’t claim to be good at, great at, or an expert at very much, but I am the world’s foremost expert on everything Jake. I know him better than anyone. I know his likes and dislikes, his preferences, when he can be pushed to do more, when he needs to rest, when he really needs a hug, and when that particular type of fall on the pavement really can be conquered without tears, bandaids, or a trip to the emergency room. I’ve prayed for him, thought about him, cheered for him, cried over him, been terrified for him, and been through more with him than anyone else in the universe. I’ve been to every single doctor’s appointment, every assessment (even the one where I almost threw up in the car because I had a migraine), and every time someone needed to stick things large and small into Jake’s little body, I was there to pin him down, tears streaming down my own face, and then was there to cuddle him and whisper in his ear that he was going to be okay.
To all the moms who have done the work to get your child help and are still going through something similar: You can do this. You can do this again and again and again. You are NOT a bad parent. You are NOT uneducated, stupid, or uninformed. Of course you are doing everything you can for your child. Of course you want what is best. Why? BECAUSE YOU ARE A GREAT MOM AND YOU ARE THE EXPERT!
I am sure over the next few months, I will be taking many deep breaths, praying for control over my tongue, head, and heart, and going to into more conferences like the one I had last week. But, I’m determined to not let all of that diminish the work I’ve done, the work I’m doing, or the work I will continue to do with Jake.
California will get to know us and everything will even out.