That's what happened to me. I didn't see that Noah might need a much less traditional path than we were already on. I thought we were being open-minded and proactive with his progressive school and top-notch specialists, but it wasn't exactly what he needed, at least this past year. I still feel a deep pain and disbelief that we are no longer part of the school community that we called "home" for so many years. I miss them, and the future that I thought we had together. I don't fully understand why things unraveled as they did last September, but what I do know is that even in such a wonderful school, he wasn't thriving. Each year the tears remained, the worries compounded and Noah's self-image sank a bit lower.
I've never ever pictured myself as a homeschool Mother. In fact, just like so many, I skeptically eyed homeschooling, wondering how a child could ever get the learning and social skills one would need in life. Now of course, after living a year as a homeschooling family, I find my early worries laughable! Not only have my concerns about education and socialization been flattened, I've been truly taken by the MASSIVE AMOUNT of opportunity, community and the quality of education available out there.
So what happens when the way you thought everything would be just.... falls through?
Well, you have to be willing to bend and to allow yourself to re-think, re-plan, re-work all of your expectations, goals and dreams. That took a lot for me to do, especially because we were at the same school since Noah was three, and I fully expected him to graduate with all of his friends. I had imagined the ceremony many many times. It was a dream.
Now that the new school year is upon us, and Noah is not in a place where he can go back to school, I have come to accept that we.have.a.new.normal. I've come to realize and embrace the reality of not having a neuro-typical child and honoring his unique needs. (For those of you who might not know, Noah has ADHD- inattentive type, Anxiety and is 2e.)
Hi. My name is Lauren, and I recently realized that I am the parent of a child who has a different set of needs. Maybe even more importantly, I realized that I have to stop struggling to make him just act like all the neuro-typical kids. It's far better to laugh and accept and joyously search for the best-fit path, than to wear myself down fighting it. THAT awareness has made all the difference in the world.
Some days I feel exhausted, especially when Noah resists doing schoolwork for me. Sometimes I feel a little down when I think about the vastly different life I used to have. Somewhere there must be more help, as we have yet to find just the right mix of support, but I know we'll get there.
I also know is that Noah is a very caring, gentle, sweet boy who has always had a most sensitive heart. He loves animals and helping others. He worries about people's feelings and the world. He's never been one for competitive sports or being too rough and tumble, but if you need a listening ear or a word of encouragement, Noah is your guy. This knowledge makes the hard times worth it.
It means that we can never give up on finding the right situations to best help our child. It means more appointments, it means being ok with and thankful that we can allocate some of our income to helping him. It means learning how to advocate for Noah, asking for more help, and to find more support. It means that I make less excuses, more boundaries. It means that Jon and I can't let the stress of our new normal get the best of our marriage. It means being ok with the sad feelings I have when I see happy families on Facebook doing all of the things that I wish we could as well, but not letting those feelings overwhelm me. It mean taking care of all of us, extra. It means letting Noah know that HE CAN DO IT!!!! \(^0^)/