A lot has happened in the last two weeks. We traveled home from the hospital, enjoyed Christmas, visited family, celebrated New Year’s Eve, Drew’s birthday, had a few doctor appointments and went back to school. Whew. So today when Zack was complaining that he was overdoing it and that his belly hurt and that he needed to come home from school, I thought he was just whining. I honestly thought surgery was more than three weeks ago, not just a bit more than two weeks ago. I left him at school with those big baby blues crying big ol’ crocodile tears. It was hard, but I knew he could do it. Nice, huh? I am not completely heartless, though. When he called later in the day, I did go and pick him up. I am pretty sure I’ll be winning awards.
A few pictures of the aforementioned things….
While we were in Cincinnati, Zack’s schedule at school was changed. Instead of having three separate special education teachers, he now has just one dedicated person working with him. The school hopes this will help Zack transition into “work mode” more quickly and allow for more actual instruction time. When three different people work with him (in addition to his classroom teacher), time is spent figuring out how he is doing health wise and what his mood is before settling into the actual work. This impacts the amount of instruction time he receives. It is also hoped that having just one person communicating his needs with his classroom teacher will help with planning for Zack. When there were three teachers involved the planning logistics were much more complicated.
I think this change probably played into Zack’s tears today. He usually loves school, but he also loves his schedule and his teachers. I am wondering if he was just a little bit sad and/or nervous about the changes going on and quite possibly still just feeling a little bit tired from all the healing going on in that little body of his.
With all of Zack’s absences AND his actual learning difficulties, he is just not closing the gap as much as we would like. Zack has a wonderful brain. He is a smart guy. He can tell you more about the human body than most kids and many adults. His vocabulary is impressive. However, reading is hard for him and that is a pretty important skill. Writing is physically exhausting for him. The school is working hard to help Zack catch up before third grade where things get even more intense.
We met with Zack’s administration yesterday to go over all of these things. I appreciate the time they took explaining it all to us. We also went to the hospital for Zack’s blood draw, met with his hospital social worker to work on medical trauma issues, had a PICC line dressing change here at home AND celebrated Drew’s birthday It was a pretty full day.
It was also one of those days where I realized that I am not Super Woman. I made a mistake in his blood draw appointment ( I NEVER do that, seriously, NEVER). I cried during the meeting with his administration ( You know I HATE that). I almost forgot to wrap my child’s birthday presents (I LOVE celebrating birthdays) and I ended the day with a killer headache.
I had to stop and admit that sometimes life can be a little overwhelming. I had to admit that Zack does have a lot of different obstacles in his life and not just medical ones. I also had to admit that sometimes I try to minimize how hard things can be because I do not like people to feel sorry for me or for my family or most importantly for Zack…and truthfully most of the time life is pretty great. But there are moments when it sneaks up on me and the tears just come and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.
I also realized that every once in awhile I should probably share some of that because it is our reality and the reality of many other families with special needs children. Even though this is true, it is also true that the special needs families in my life are also some of the strongest, most dedicated and resilient people I know.
I read an article on Facebook today, you know, the source of all true and inspirational things in life. Interestingly, the article is from a blog originally posted in August of 2013, but shared by two different friends today…coincidence? I think not. The article spoke to me. It was an article about prayer life, but it basically said instead of praying, “God, make it better” I should be praying, “God, make it count.” This is the life you have given me, make it count. Let me learn from hard things. Help me to teach my boys to learn from them as well. Let us learn to be strong through the hard things, do not let these experiences be wasted and, most importantly, make them count for Your glory. It was just what I needed to help me reset my thinking. If you want to read it for yourself, here is the link.
Going for a brisk (20 degree), endorphin producing, evening run with my Flying Feet buddies didn’t hurt either. Coming home to my four favorite guys, a warm house, a yummy dinner, a hot shower and soft cozy jammies was pretty great as well.
Hug your babies…and all of your people!