I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just start at the beginning. There have been a few times in my life that I’ve had to hit the ground running when something unexpected happened or something that wasn’t completely unexpected happened at a time that I did not expect. Having my son seven weeks early was one of those things. My mother’s suicide was another. And now, one more big unexpected thing has landed in my lap. As much as we lay out a template for our life’s voyage, there are times when the plan needs to be rewritten, or even scrapped.
Several weeks ago, Little Man got sick. I had been doing some healing work and had created a massive energetic shift that affected my family lineage, and I thought that maybe Little Man was reacting to it. For me, energetic changes can bring me euphoria, lightness, tiredness, and even short-lived physical pain. Because Little Man is so extremely sensitive to energy, I thought his discomfort was something that I basically caused. For about 3 days his stomach hurt so much he could barely eat. Then, his whole torso hurt, and he had some legs pains (growing pains I thought). Then the pain was all over; sometimes his head, sometimes his whole body. After a few weeks with no relief, I sought out a naturopathic doctor.
Because I thought the cause was based in an energy shift, and he had no obvious signs of infection or a virus, I didn’t want to take him to his pediatrician. And the one amazingly intuitive naturopath that I know didn’t have any openings for a few weeks, but he referred us to another local, intuitive naturopath. As synchronicity would have it, a cancellation afforded us an opening the next day.
This doctor was a great match for Little Man, and he examined my son, did a bunch of applied kinesiology (muscle testing) and did a little energy healing on him, tuning into body systems and more. We left the visit with the information that Little Man’s body was starting to show signs of dysfunction due to stress and his diet. Apparently, gluten, dairy, potatoes and apples do not resonate with Little Man’s body very well, and we were given instructions for a diet that does not include these foods.
Another week passed and Little Man was not getting better. We saw the doctor again, but Little Man felt so poorly that the doctor spent most of the visit basically doing “laying on of hands” energy healing (and read the body again).
At that point, the doctor wanted to draw blood, which terrified Little Man, so we were sent home with a saliva test kit to assess adrenal function. Several days later, because I was frankly starting to get very worried, I told Little Man that he had to do whatever it took to be ok with having a blood draw because he wasn’t getting better and we needed information from his blood. It took 2 times of going to the lab, but he finally got up the courage and allowed a draw (such a proud moment that he conquered that huge fear!).
During this whole time I wasn’t overly worried about Little Man because I had 2 medical intuitives (they can “read” the body for illness, blockages, and systems that might be out of whack) check his body for signs of infection, illness, things going really wrong, and nothing was standing out for them. At least, nothing that they were allowed to “see.” You see, when an intuitive does this sort of thing, they can be blocked by the person they are reading. But after 4 weeks with no improvement, and pressures from school, I started to become worried.
Just over a week ago, blood test results came in, and we went to the doctor’s office for the results. About an hour before we were to leave the house for the check-up, Little Man came up to me and confessed. This whole time, he wasn’t sick, he was having anxiety and panic attacks about having to be in school. His stomachaches and headaches were very real, but they were caused by anxiety. And for weeks before his mystery illness, he had been waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety and headaches. Things had not been going well for a much longer time than I realized. I felt a mix of extreme relief that he wasn’t ill, as in having cancer or something like that, and gratitude that Little Man was able to confess this to me, but I was also terrified because I realized that life needed a major course correction, and now. The thought of homeschooling this kid who has learning issues and attention challenges sent me spiraling out in a very big way.
The visit at the doctor’s office only confirmed what I dreaded, that this kid needed to be out of public school, and pronto. (And going to a local private school wasn’t a good match – I’d already considered that option a few years ago). His blood work showed some imbalances, and relentless stress was a big part of the cause. The doctor is very sure that with a change in diet and with the anxiety addressed (change of school, journaling the anxiety, etc.), Little Man’s body will be able to come back into homeostasis reasonably easily. Lucky for him, we caught things early.
We left that visit with instructions to continue striving for a diet with no gluten or dairy, apples or potatoes, and one full of vegetables. That, in and of itself was enough to put me into a tailspin because Little Man is one very picky eater who lives on pasta and cheese. Having an extreme sense of taste and smell, if he doesn’t like the way something tastes or smells, he can’t force himself to eat it. He is very good about giving things a taste, but can not swallow something offensive, and almost every vegetable out there offends his palate. It’s very difficult to disguise the taste of something enough that Little Man can eat it, and he’s not a dipping sauce kind of kid.
So, here I sit, a few days out of “the news” and my head is not spinning out nearly as badly as it was the day I got the news (a Friday) and that first weekend. The food changes have Little Man in withdrawal, jonesing for his comfort food, and he constantly apologizes for being grumpy. Looking for gluten-free alternatives to foods we currently eat, like gluten-free pasta, is providing to be frustrating for Little Man, because they don’t taste like regular pasta, and everything is twice as expensive. I’m fixing veggies every way I can think that he might like, with fail after fail. But, like Edison and his light bulb, I’m not giving up easily. (Stubbornness can be perseverance).
I’m taking steps to become a homeschooling parent as quickly as I can, talking with people who I know who either homeschool now, have done it in the past, or who have plans to do so in the fall. And connecting to our own school district to figure out what’s next, I’ve already taken step one: filling out a form of intent to homeschool my child.
Right now, I’m just slightly less than terrified of the thought of teaching my kid everything he’s supposed to learn, when I have had no teacher training. All I know about teaching is from how I was taught when I was in school. And one thing I know for sure is the way we teach our children these days is not suited towards my son. If it were, he wouldn’t be labeled, “learning disabled.” For years I’ve known that my son learns differently from most, and I’ve happily let the experts (people who have actually trained to teach) deal with this monumental task, giving me freedom to do my own thing.
In years past, when Little Man begged me to homeschool him, I told myself that it was important for him to learn how to deal with life, with challenges, with hard things, with teachers who didn’t understand him, with all sorts of kids, and learn how to live with anxiety. So I pushed him, and pushed him, and talked with him, and did energy work on him, and talked with his school and teachers again and again. Anything to help him learn how to make it in this world. After all, we have challenges in our lives to grow, right?
But when to say when.
I’m saying when, now.
Little Man has come a very long way, and what he’s been taught by our local school system has been great. Even with his learning issues, he can read and write (although not too legibly), and do math that isn’t too horribly behind his peers. He’s stringing sentences together into paragraphs, and learning about history and science. What he’s learned by virtue of his struggles, having experiences with people who have big disconnects within themselves, is something he never could have learned if I’d cocooned him at home 3 years ago.
My fears are that I won’t be able to teach him what his peers will learn as they continue on through the public school. But he isn’t his peers. His buddies don’t have learning disabilities. Another fear is that I don’t want to limit his education or his possibilities for beyond high school. Some of the home schooled kids in our area have aspirations of attending local trade schools, and have no aspirations for a college otherwise. I don’t want to dumb down his math curriculum because I’ve already decided he won’t need to know calculus after high school. Little Man is a very smart kid, who, although he might not be the next Richard Branson, definitely has the potential to leave his mark on this world.
My fears are that when the honeymoon phase of not having to be in a public school setting wears off, Little Man’s school work will become a daily grind and drudgery for the both of us. My fears are that I won’t be able to find a local homeschooling group who resonates with me and my values. Most of the groups in my area are composed of people who’ve chosen to homeschool so they can incorporate the Bible’s teachings into their child’s everyday education. I already incorporate my beliefs into how I raise my child every day; and much of what our local churches, who have homeschooling groups, teach about the Bible and the way they interpret it, doesn’t resonate with me. Having this realization, I can choose to begin our school day with a short meditation to help ground us and clear up our energies; something that will help us to be centered and be able to focus on the tasks at hand.
My fears are lots. But I also know, because a few very wise people once told me, that as we stand at point A, striving to reach point B, we are not meant to know how we are going to get from A to B. We often think we know, only because our brain has an amazing ability to catalog and categorize past experiences. But, in truth, we actually do not know just how we will go from A to B. We take the first step. And as we ask for the next step, a new breadcrumb will appear. We keep asking for help, and as we step and step, the next breadcrumbs will keep showing up. And one thing I’ve figured out, is that I’m pretty good at asking, because breadcrumbs keep showing up. And as I receive information, when I pick the next direction using my heart as my compass, things tend to go well.
One thing I’m seeing is that my life is one of carving new trails, perhaps to make it easier for others to follow in new directions. Doing things the way everyone else does them doesn’t necessarily work for me (or Little Man), and I’ve found that in taking the road less travelled I’m making more progress in my own life than 99% of people I personally know.
Because I am in the position of being able to homeschool Little Man, I am very grateful that I don’t feel pushed into a corner to put him on anxiety medications that, especially in his body, would not be helpful. When his new doctor said that anxiety is just information that the brain is struggling to make sense of, I knew this man would be an important teacher for Little Man. He will help teach my son how to recognize what’s going on when his brain is freaking out, and what to do to make it happy (by using his intuition). No drugs required.
The more I can shift my thinking around from fear into excitement about the future, the better our lives become. Maybe Little Man’s life voyage plan was getting so off track that this gigantic course correction was necessary for him to get back on track. (And this is why I love writing – that epiphany literally just hit me). Sometimes, it takes an extreme amount of discomfort to move us to where we need to be.
Since I initially started writing this piece, just six days ago, I’ve learned about a local learning center that is geared towards independent learning. They have certified teachers who can work with the student to create a curriculum that is geared towards their interests. The teachers create lesson plans and follow-up with the student, keeping track of their progress, while the actual work is done at home. So far, this option appeals to me a lot because the pressure of curriculum would not be totally on me to figure out (although, if I find one we like, we can use it), and we would have a teacher handy to help out at any time. I’m still investigating our options, but this one is definitely a front-runner.
Stay tuned for our next adventure!