The Hardest Thing I hope I ever write- part 2 of 3
Day 2 of a temporary break in my self depricating humor and blaming the worlds woes on celebrities and gravity. Today I am going to let you in to one of the most personal issues of my life. It’s a long post and probably not funny to anyone. I don’t apologize. If you haven't read part 1, you probably should do that first.
OK so remember in Part 1 where I said this entire post / thread would probably be controversial? We are officially entering that part. This is where I try to explain a lot in a short post, I will fail.
But to summarize, me and God have a bad breakup, I get spit on by School Boards, and I make some really hard decisions.
If you read part 1 and thought I was inspirational or a hero or whatever, you will find out by the end of this I am not. I am just a mom, with all my huge flaws, with no expertise, flying by the seat of my momma gut feelings and questioning my decisions
When my friend and I decided to get married, he asked the kids. Then we immediately put in place a set of rules. I would never question his decisions in front of the children or over ride him, and vice versa. However we could hash it out in private and thumb wrestle on who was right. This helped. Wanting the same things for our kids was the goal here. Not to let them divide and conquer us but to present a united confident front even when we had no clue what we were doing. I believe this was crucial in our surviving. Also by accident, we developed a tag team parenting style, when one was about to snap, had snapped, or was ready for lock up, the other would take over. You know, good cop bad cop, although we always backed the other, just with a little less insanity.
Religion. Sore spot for me, you see. I took my children to several different denominations of organized religion. I felt no one denomination was right. I knew it to be true. None of the churches ever let my son in the nursery more than 1 time. Can't risk it. I get it. However have you ever imagined what it was like to "theraputically" hold
wrestle your kid to the death, while trying to listen to a service. Impossible.
One church always prayed for us, another church asked us to attend a different service where he would be less of a distraction, and one church even asked if we would consider an exorcism. I began to wonder why I would fight tooth and nail to drag my children to church only to sit in the hallway or on bad days in the car. Is this what god wanted? Didn't he make this child just like this? Then finally in tears again I asked a preacher what I could do, he informed me that I had asked for this, because I had been praying for patience and the only way to achieve patience was thru tribulation. I think I had enough with the special needs, kid, single parenting, and house burning to the ground. ( yeah, it did, it was my fault and will be a hilarious post some day.)
Needless to say, that was the day me and God broke up. It wasn't ugly. We just went our own ways. God's representatives here on earth in all those churches couldn't take it, and I couldn't take them. Again maybe if I was wearing that shirt I talked about in part 1, someone might have gave a crap, but I don't think so. So we dropped out of the private religion based school and moved into the public sector.
I remember a fleeting moment where I considered home school, but knew that social interaction and structure would probably be a lot more helpful than him watching me wig out daily.
1st grade- suspended, cops on lawn, kid in handcuffs, enough said. Total absurdity, my kid found a green squirt gun on the sidewalk at school and picked it up, the teacher being quite aware of my sons problems said that he brandished said green squirt gun in a threatening manner, thus causing them to enact the zero tolerance policy, lock down the school and call the police, and US to say our child had a gun, causing me to break land speed records for a Geo spectrum ( insert laughter at my vehicle here) and drive onto the school lawn to get there. Are some people idiots? Clearly? Can you say they took zero tolerance too far? Clearly. But then entire school shooting tragedy had just been all over the news. So zero tolerance apparently includes a 6 yr old with a green squirt gun he found at school.
He had to have a psych eval to get back in, this wasn't his first rodeo, he had to also have one when we stupidly took him to a magic show and the magician did a trick where he cut a woman in half and she turned into a tiger. Apparently 6 year olds aren't supposed to say, " I want to cut myself in half and come back a tiger" especially if the nitwitts that run your school system know he has problems because you were honest with them and hoped they would want to help your child.
Don't be stupid most of them don't. We had to meet with the Director of the School Board and straighten this insanity out. Mr School Board man informed me that there was no special education programs for 1st graders.
Strike 1. He also picked up the green squirt gun turned out the lights and then pointed it at my face.
Strike 2. I am not so good at baseball 2 strikes your out Mr Schoolboard man. So I went ahead and did what any logical normal parent would do. I wrote a letter to the White house. My president right, and in case he was busy running the country I also wrote his wife. Coincidentally they had just passed the IDEA act.
I let Pres Clinton, his wife, and the Washington division of the United States Department of education they could feel free to stop sending federal money to the school system since they don't provide services, as per Mr School Boards claim.
So we moved to another part of town and put him in a better school. Ok not so much, yeah, they turned him into to social services because when the teacher was teaching the letter X and they were saying words with X my kid yelled out ( first time to participate in class might I add) SEX. It has an X.
Since we were military they became involved and in turn another psych eval. The claim was unfounded since when he was asked what that meant he said it was what married grownups do when they kiss. The new school was a nightmare, they pinpointed him out in every way they could.
Daily I would get called in from work, to be at the school because he played tagged with other kids and OMG tagged them? Or the teacher said he was disruptive because he tapped his pencil.
I found out my son would get off the bus and sit in the principals office all day with a worksheet until she found a reason to call me in. That means zero social interaction and go figure zero learning. It also meant at least one of the adults in the house couldn't keep a job, because honestly patience and understanding only go so far when the employee has to leave work 2 and 3 times a week. It wasn't fair to the other employees or my boss.
I lost my career. It was at that time the first new friend entered the picture.
She was a little younger than me and showed up at my house, introducing herself and her little boy, Dylan. Her son was in my sons class, and she was there because the teacher had warned her not to let her son be friends with my son. To say Shannan took offense to that would be an understatement, and she made it a mission to include my son in normal 6 year activities. For the first time my son had a friend, a real friend, with tolerant and understanding parents who would verbally work it out with him. I can't put a value on a person like this.
I have only met 2, and they were priceless in letting me know he mattered. They saw past the issues and saw a little boy, and a family and made a conscious discussion to raise their children in a world of understanding and acceptance rather then one of being perfect.
One morning I recieved a phone call from the Principal telling me there was a meeting in 1 hour and I didn't have to be there if I was busy. Of course I dropped everything and me and the hubby were there. When we got there, it was so clear how organized this was, the Principal, Mr School Board man, a couple teachers and a county psychologist, oh yeah and a military liaison. Wow that takes more planning than an hour, why was I invited last?
Oh yeah the ambush technique. See long ago my son had taught me no one would fight for him, NO ONE. Not teachers, not Doctors, not other family, and not God.
Little did they know while they did this from 8-3 I did it all friggin day for years. So in short time I pointed out and quoted from the IDEA act and the Educational Federal Registry how they were required to help my son.
To say it ended well? hrm probably not. Did I get my parental butt handed to me on a platter. Definitely not. The principal got so flustered with my calm manner and sorry but it's the law quotes, that she actually screamed which included her spitting in my face. In front of the fancy people she invited to the meeting. Did this help my son's case? Yes they started testing him ASAP.
However my daughter suffered which will show you the low lengths a so called professional will stoop to. My daughter now in 3rd grade, straight A student good citizenship awards was brought in under the pretense she had failed to return a library book she had never checked out, apparently this was detention worthy, even if it was a lie. I offered to pay for the book even though my daughter swore they were lying. Teachers don't lie honey. They said no, they had to teach her a lesson. Really or is it me your trying to teach, because I stood against you, because you looked like an asshat in front of important people. Please clarify Ms Principal lady, because you have yet to see my full fury.
Needless to say, my son was ruled SPED under ODD.( Other developmental delays). Because they didn't have all the cool alphabetically rulings they have now days to lable a kid. What this meant was my kid got sent to another school, one with inclusion.
What's even cooler is I made them include his sister to this much better school and they had to provide a bus to pick up my 2 kids and drive them past the other 5 schools.
Yes I waisted tax money in the guise that my child although different was of equal value. That school was great, seriously. Everything you could want, great for my daughter, and perfect for my son. 2 ends of the spectrum, her in advanced classes and him placed in SPED inclusion. They took all his issues and past and formed a special plan for him, an IEP.
His teacher was an actual psychologist, Dr T. I will forever thank her. She actually had the best interest of my sons LONGTERM future at heart, not just getting thru the day. The principal and assistant principal equally as awesome. The assistant principal had actually been a severe and profound inclusion teacher prior to taking this position. Perfect. Finally.
Well except the part where their new free spirited flowery skirt wearing counselor saw my son get off the bus one morning with blood on his shirt. ( he always got unexplained bloody noses). She ran to him and said oh no are you ok. He countered with a fantastical story. It went a little something like this. " Yeah I am ok, last night my dad killed my mom, but I found a gun and shot him, so that's why there's blood on my shirt".
Before checking his cumulative folder or talking to the others she called the police, which came screeching up to my house in mass force while I was in my bra and hot rollers. ( Did I mention in part 1 I worked in the legal field and therefore knew every single cop on the force in our small town?) AWESOME !
They told me what was up and after I nearly peed laughing I got dressed and went to the school. Only to find this lovely sweet, soft voiced counselor talking with my son about God and his biological father. Yes, the dirtbag I divorced when he was just 6 months old for many reasons but the main one being " he didn't want a retarded kid". The one who lived in the next city but had never in 6 years visited, called, or paid child support, and actually told a judge he hoped the kids would die so I would get off his back about child support? I kindly took her to the side and said, he has professional that he goes to talk about these things, he doesn't know his real father, for all intensive purposes my husband is his father in every way but DNA, he's the one that goes to every meeting, holds him as he cries and leaves work in a rush because something is amiss. OH yeah and seriously.. this is public school can you not drag god into this, with my kid 1 on 1. ( I am not against god in school, I am against somone sharing their personal religious beliefs with my kid who has issues in a closed up tiny room and making him pray for forgiveness for lying) Thanks. No big meetings or anything,
I just asked the principal to share my sons cumulative folder with the new
dork, counselor and that was the end of it.
To reiterate, my kid isn't stupid.
He knew he could get a reaction out of her, and he succeeded.
We decided with a lot of council that we should hold our son back, and keep him in inclusion, with the hopes that 1 more year of inclusion would get him back in mainstream classes. Dr T had that much faith in my son, so much so he wrote a book with her. It was printed and put in the school library, he actually talks as a kid to other kids about how to deal with things.
You know it has to change right? This isn't a fairytale and I don't have a godmother.
My husbands military career was coming to an end he was ready to retire, we could stay here and make enough to possibly keep the lights on, or move, move and make enough money to be comfy for the first time in either of our adult lives.
We moved. To Tampa. Like the Jeffersons we moved on up, gated community and fancy schools, it was like the dream. Yeah if it's a nightmare.
First hurdle was the school they wouldn't even let me register my kid, said this school wan't right for him. I gave them the number to the last school board and said, before you start this fight you might want to call and see what Washington did to the last school system that told me that.
Wow check it, a phone call later revealed they had made a mistake and he was totally welcome at their perfect cookie cutter kid school. He did great at that school, with a very special teacher in a regular class. She gave him an out pass, meaning when he was gonna lose it, he would go to the gym and run laps or help the coach for 10 minutes, come back and finish the assignment. BEST EVER IDEA.
We had to arrange for a special pick up time because the massive amount of kids flooding to cars was too much for him and he would freak. All in all a good experience. It only got better.
Special person #2 entered my life. Through my husbands work I met the wife of a guy my husband worked with. She had only 1 child, she was again younger than me and she was awesome. I was upfront and explained my kid as best as I could.
She accepted that, and showed more patience and understanding than expected by any parent, even when my son stapled her baby. Yes he did. Sorry Nathaniel.
She talked to my son in a manner that was understanding and strong, her parenting skills although just a couple years old, were primal, and amazing. Her friendship to me invaluable.
Especially when we both found out we were pregnant. I fainted. The pregnancy didn't go as planned for me ( well because that is just not the way my life is supposed to go.) and I ended up in labor and 4 cm dilated at 21 weeks and 6 days. literally just hours into the fine line that doctors differentiate a miscarriage from trying to save the baby.
Needless to say I ended up in the hospital in labor for 58 days. Fun fun fun. NOT.
Even better my husband was now a single parent to 2 kids one of which a newly pubescent teenage girl and a special needs boy, along with his new job and a wife and unborn baby in the hospital. How did he do. He kept that superhero cape on every second. He did it, all by his big boy self.
My friend, well I will call her Bella here, and she will get that reference. Every day in the Tampa heat, she would load up her pregnant self and drive with her 4 year old in tow to sit with me in the hospital, all day, with a toddler.
Can you buy friendship like that? I certainly couldn't afford to, yet here she was. faithfully, talking to my belly and telling the baby to "STAY IN"
Friend number 1, Shannan flew in from Las Vegas, in the middle of a school year to move in and help my family. I may have only had 2 friends, but seriously, could anyone dream of better ones to have.
Meanwhile back at the hospital every week we had to sign a dnr ( do not resuscitate ) on the baby. Every week they would come in with info on what would happen if he was born at this stage, brain bleeds, blindness, cp, probably death as in never make it out of NICU.
My husband with all his super powers couldn't sign.
I took the pen and said no. I signed a paper that said NO, NO do not try to save my baby. Why? How could I do that?
Because I saw what kind of fight my son fought daily with problems that didn't compare to these, how could I willingly do it to another, and honestly I probably wouldn't be able to handle it. Did my friend or husband question me? No. See the entire 58 days, I let everyone pray for my unborn baby, but I didn't, not once, why?
Remember me and God broke up, and I couldn't possibly go running to him for help now that I needed him. I am a bitch, a bad mom and a crappy wife, but I am not a hypocrite. I thought about god a lot, and I even told him I wouldn't ask him to save this baby since I am not a hypocrite and I had already seen his handy work of my teary prayers in my first son.
I remember the first week I signed the paper yes, YES save my baby, to me he had good chances at a certain point, good enough to give it a shot. To the huge team of special doctors and all the nurses utter shock, my third child was born amazingly healthy, at 34 weeks. I had held on to the safety point for him. He had held on.
Apgar scores, I need Apgar scores. He's fine. No nicu? Going home? Wow. Amazing.
During all of this hubub, my other son was busy seeing a boat load of new and improved Doctors, they changed his diagnosis to tourettes, and ofcourse ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) , and a new one ED ( emotionally delayed). They scanned him for brain tumors and there was some mention of mental illness.
Wait, that's not a string of letters, that's like crazy? He's not crazy he has a problem that just needs some combo of letters. He just needs therapy, more attention, more patience, change of diet and meds right? NO.
They also found out my son was breaking bones and not noticing it. I had told the Doctors he didn't process pain like the rest of it, and a bone age film to find out why he wasn't growing proved it, he actually had some broken bones for the scan. This was never answered.
But he had a new thing, Delayed Bone Growth syndrome. Does this explain his other issues? Why of course not, but it's new and includes human growth hormone shots for the next few years, great where do we sign up, cause he isn't going thru enough. Ned meds, and some that OBVIOUSLY hurt more than they helped.
I was never afraid to tell a Doctor they were a twit or a pill pushing trend fiend. There wasn't room for fear of Doctors, who else was gonna fight. We did all the suggestions from the new batch of Doctors, he joined boy scouts and even martial arts, both of which he was eventually asked to leave.
The new baby, combined with the fact my dad was back home and not doing well, plus our business had taken off finally giving us financial freedom, and the crappy snotty neighbors inspired us to move home again. I had been driving the 8 hour each way with 3 kids at least 1 to 2 times a month and my dads health was failing, I needed my kids to be around him.
So back to the woods we go. I need to insert another disclaimer here. when I posted part 1, I got a lot of emails telling me I was inspirational or tough or whatever.
Let me clarify I am none of those. If you thought for 1 second I am some one to look at or guide the way, hopefully this post clears it up. I am a tangled mess of smoking flaws, trying to do the best I can. That's all. Failing
a lot, daily. I will share my story, and experiences, but please don't ever think I am someone special for this. I am just me, a mean momma, if you don't believe me ask my son. My son is 18 and your only to age 12 in this post. remember 3 x6 = 18. The hardest years are yet to come.