Thursday, November 04, 2010

Guilt and Other Feelings

I admit it! I am a BAD blogger! I haven't blogged, haven't been reading anyone else's blogs. I promised myself I wouldn't blog again until I touched base with my bloggy friends. I lied. But I do have good intentions if those count for anything.
The year from Aug 2009- Aug 2010 was beyond difficult. People trying to die, (my mom, twice,the boy, once myself once) people dying, (Our beloved Bright Star) Little Man losing his mind resulting in what I am now calling the Summer of My Discontent and our decision to move in hopes of getting the services our son needs.
The school thing was very difficult at first. They put our Little Man in a special classroom at a REGULAR Jr. High. Disastrous doesn't begin to describe the violence and incredible escalation of behavior. I had advocated for him to go to a school for the more handicapped, but the district said it was "too restrictive" and they couldn't legally move him until he failed his current placement. As a mother it was so hard to watch my boy lose his mind and know the adults in his life who were supposed to protect him, were instead failing miserably.
After fights about his emotional and medical needs and him getting sent home every day at 11, the district agreed he needed a different placement.
Sort of rough at first, but then...
Just as I found it difficult to express how incredibly hard things were for our boy and our little family, I find it challenging to describe how things are now.
School: I went to Little Man's IEP this morning. I was told he is charming, he is adorable, he is so smart, he is so helpful, he is kind, he sticks up for and helps the other students. He is funny, he is so functional, he is clever,he is one of the smartest kids in school, he is amazing, we LOVE him, he is a favorite, he makes us laugh.
I laughed with delight through the whole meeting and kept thinking, "are they talking about my son?" yes they were. My heart was singing! I walked out of the meeting on clouds with a big smile on my face.
His after school/behavioral program: Since it is behavioral therapy, and they are working on challenging and changing his dysfunctional behaviors, they have seen more problem behaviors. BUT, in spite of that, they LOVE him. He is NOT their hardest kid. He is doing well there, and best of all, he is happy to go. He is gone a LOT, but it gives Bald Man and I some time together in the evening which we hold precious. AND, neither the school nor his after school program will give up and call us to come get him just because he is being difficult.
Our neighborhood: Nothing prepared me for the joy I would feel when the doorbell rang and there was a child at the door, "can Little Man play?" No one has ever done that before. This amazingly normal question brought me to tears. Our neighbors are AWESOME! One of the moms on our street has a job working with people with disabilities and she has some great skills in weaving Little Man into mesh of the kids on our street. Not only is she good at it, she doesn't hesitate to coach the other children in including our boy in their play.
July had brought me to a place of feeling we were out of options for helping our son, and I felt as though I was staring at the end of a long hallway, and now I was at a dead end. After knocking on every door available, we had no answers and no help. I sobbed and prayed. With our decision to move, I found I was NOT at the end of a long hallway, stepping off into an abyss, instead, I was at a corner. Turning the corner and looking down the hallway, I found open doors! More than one! I found hope, I found knots to add to the end of my rope, I found a guardrail circling the abyss.
Little Man is doing awesome! His great behavior is carrying out to our home and we have seen a huge difference in him. He is happier, less oppositional and less difficult in general.
Like a little plant struggling to grow in a hostile environment, our son was battling to survive. Bringing the plant into a hothouse, giving it warmth, proper nourishment and shelter, the little plant grows and flourishes.
Our son is not just surviving anymore, he is thriving and blooming!
I will say that I am just a bit sad I was not able to provide my son with the support and structure that he so desperately needed. I think my boy was being pushed to his absolute limits in his ability to cope, every single day. Now he is no longer being pushed so hard every day, he has the room to grow.
Moving here was the best thing we ever could have done for Little Man and our family in general. My heart is filled with tremendous gratitude today, and every day.
Oh, by the way, the boy is so stable I was able to find a part time job in a local portrait studio. I LOVE my job, love what I am learning and I am keenly aware this wouldn't have been possible if we hadn't moved and changed things.
Thank you for hanging in there and for nagging politely requesting more information. Now that we are settling in, I am hoping to find my blogging mojo again. I miss it! Mwah to all of you!

13 Kids Who Want To Play:

K J and the kids said...

Songs of joy and dancing on the ceiling happy for you.
YAY on every little bit of it.

What portrait studio ?

So good to hear from you. We still need a brunch date :)

Azul said...

I'm so glad it's all working out for you all.

Let us know when you're a seasoned pro at the photo studio. Maybe we'll bring Chico up for a photo session; we haven't been able to do that in years. It would be so nice to have some professional photos of him again.

Monica said...

Wow! This is so wonderful to read! I am just tickled for your family. I know how close to despair you felt with your little guys struggles. I can't believe you found something to make such huge changes for him.

L. said...


The old adage that it's always darkest before the dawn in often true!

Lee said...

wow Jo, I am just so glad that it is for such wonderful reasons that you haven't been blogging. Too many times when blog friends disappear, something really bad has happened. This is beyond wonderful and I am so happy for you all. And congrats on the job but after seeing your photo postings I think you should be teaching photography! :-)

Kristina P. said...

It sounds like this move was inspired, Jo. I am thrilled that things have been going so well.

I miss you!

Laura said...

Yay, Jo! YAAAAAYYYY, JO! So glad all is going so well, especially with our Little Man. This is a terrific blog update. :):) Keep 'em coming!

Love, Laura

elizasmom said...

Oh, I am so glad there is so much good news in your report! And what a wonderful thing to have a kiddo come asking to play with him! So happy for you both.

Kristine said...

I am so very happy to read this!!! Wonderful, wonderful news!

Bonnie the Boss said...

Jo, I kept trying to put my thoughts into words as I read this, so I could give you some wonderful comment. But the only feeling I had was JOY. Joy at your cute boy, and your community, and your situation. I am so grateful and happy for you and your family. If anyone deserves this you do!! Happy Day!!

Debbie said...

It is so very nice to see an update from you. I've missed you.
That is fabulous news about Little Man!

Jessica G. said...

Wow, so glad for you! Really, I just want to do a little happy dance...

Laura said...

Just popping in to wish the Tangled Family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2011! Hope all continues to go well.
Love, Laura