Friday, May 31, 2019

Letting Go of 15

Yesterday was Noah's birthday yet it has taken me a full day to process my 15 year old is now 16. Why? 16 is only 365 days older than 15. It's no big deal, right?

Not for me.

This month we had Noah's transitional IEP. Since Noah would be turning 16 before his next IEP, Special School District begins looking at his case a little bit differently. Things get real. The SSD case manager begins asking questions like what path/future do you see for your child. Do you see him working full time in a competitive job? Part-time? Volunteer work only? Does he have stamina to work a 4-5 hour shift?
Next came a question I've wondered about, but had never addressed formally with educators

Is Noah pursuing a high school diploma or a certificate of completion?

When the SSD case manager asked the question, I didn't answer immediately. Instead other members of Noah's educational team began wrestling with the question aloud.

"I don't know. This is so hard. I see so much potential in him. He is smart in so many ways." said Cindy, Noah's OT/counselor/friend. (She has been part of our journey since Noah was five years old.)

(I've heard this kind of talk for most of Noah's school career, yet, he's now 16 and test scores and his current output of work seem to point his future in another direction. In my heart I knew but my mouth remained silent)

Next came a voice from an educator, an expert and someone I consider my friend. Always kind, and patient, yet firm and convicted. She spoke up when I couldn't.
"I think he is 16 now and it's time. I think a certificate of completion is appropriate," said Mary, Miriam School Head of School.

When she spoke I knew it was true. In my mind I envisioned a set of heavy doors slamming shut. I began making a mental list of other things that were also true.
* Noah is almost 16, but he will never drive a car.
* Noah is 16, yet he isn't ready to leave our street without supervision
* Noah is 16, but I can't leave him home alone for more than an hour to run to the store.
It was like I was trying to punish myself for letting go. For giving up or giving in.

But, Mary spoke up again, her voice pulled me from the negative mental vortex I was dragging myself down into.

"I think Noah would be a good candidate for the Succeed program at UMSL."

(I had never heard of this before, however, the idea of Noah taking part in a college program gave me a flutter of hope -- his path may not be straight, but the opportunities are still wide open)

Hope floats, it raises you up so you can tackle another day.

Yesterday Noah turned 16, but I turned a corner. I'm less fearful for what lies ahead. I'm talking to God more. I'm letting go...of 15, anyway.

Happy 16th Birthday Noah!
I may need to look up - to look you in the eye and I may not be able to carry you in my arms, but...
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as your living, my baby you'll be."
Robert Munsch

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Day in the Life of a Mom

As a mom sometimes days run into each other. A long, hard day velcros itself to an even longer, sleepless night. Back to back without a reprieve. The other night thunderstorms had Truvy restless and noisy. From 12:30 p.m. til 2:30 a.m. she rang her bells to go out, circled her bed, clicked her nails on our wood floors as she paced from room to room. I called her to bed. I commanded her to "go lay down".I even brought out the heavy...the pink, polka dotted jacket that she loathes to wear, but it often calms her as a thunder jacket might.
None of these things worked. In the end I found myself standing in the rain with weighted lids at nearly 3 am. At 5:30 a.m. Steve's alarm went off. I dozed for a few minutes before rising with him. I kissed him out the door at 6, then turned to Truvy who seemed bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to face the day.
 "Do you want to wake the kids?" But, before I got to the end of my question, she was already sitting outside Natalie's bedroom door. She was ready to get their day started. The morning was fraught with anticipation and a little anxiety on Nat's part. She was getting her braces off and was worried it would hurt or she'd gag while they took impressions to create her retainer.
Once we had successfully coaxed Truvy into the crate, we headed out the door at 7:15 a.m. to pick up our carpool, drop her off at school and then head to the orthodontist for an 8:30 a.m. appointment for both kids. An hour later we emerged from the office with one kid in braces and one without! Woo hoo! Back on the road I headed to Town & Country to drop Noah off at school then drove back to Webster Groves to drop Nat at her school. It was now almost 10 a.m. I returned home, released the beast and took advantage of the reprieve from rain. I walked the dog til 11 a.m then carried her to the car (as she is still less than enthusiastic about car rides) to take her to the vet for a flu shot. Once we returned home I tried unsuccessfully to load her back into the crate. At 12 noon I was back on the road again with my fluffy sidekick. This time we were headed back to Town & Country to pick Noah up from school at 12:30 as he had a half day. After dropping off our carpool Truvy dog began barfing in the backseat. It wasn't pretty-- the volume produced was actually quite epic especially since it was 1 p.m. and she hadn't eaten since 6 a.m. I pulled up to the house -- hosed out the car, hosed off the dog, hosed off myself then drove to McD's because I had promised to take Noah out to lunch. As I turned into the drive through I realized I could no longer ignore the searing headache -- a vice pressing on either side of my temples. I returned home -- apparently Mother of the Year to my son who loves cheeseburgers almost as much as he loves Star Wars. I took a shower and put myself to bed. It was now nearly 3 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. I was bolted from sleep as Truvy greeted Natalie with a hearty welcome and Nat made a beeline for my room.
"Mom, my permanent retainer fell out today at lunch."
Then Noah suddenly appeared and although it had been less than two hours since he ate lunch..."Mom, what's for dinner?"
This account is typical for me and likely commonplace for many moms.

I'm happy to report that today -- this Mother's Day I didn't have many to do's on my docket and bickering between the kids was mild. Noah made me a card and sang karaoke -- Elton John's "I'm Still Standing". How apropos. Natalie made me a card, a "chore voucher" and a worry pin (complete with a clothesline to hang it on). Steve played it safe and expressed his love with Kakao's chocolate caramels.  He's a smart man.
To all the strong women out there caring, cooking, cleaning and keeping their children from killing one another  -- Happy Mother's Day to you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Deep Thoughts From Noah #94

I just walked in from having my hair cut into a new 'do. Upon seeing me Noah said, "Mom! You look so cute!" then he joked that he almost thought "stranger danger" when he first saw me.