Five and a half years ago, we took Little Man out of public school when his mental health tanked. And since then we’ve had a journey of navigating doing school at home while learning how to manage mental health. All on top of my very unexpected Kundalini awakening, which rolls on. When my soul made all sorts of plans and agreements before diving into this body, I swear I must have been high as a kite. “Sure thing! I can do this! No problem! In fact, let’s pile on a bunch more because dysfunctionality is fun as all get out!”
Not to get too far off track, but my son’s public school buddies graduated yesterday. Kids he played with when he was very little, before elementary school. Kids he played with who we met during his three years in a developmental preschool. And kids he went to elementary school with, with whom he had many playdates and birthday parties. All but one of these friends is heading out from high school to either higher education of some sort or to work. They all have a plan and know where they’re going. Except one -a dear friend’s daughter.
Between my entire energetic system being rewired from a recent intense healing session, seeing my son’s old friends move on without him, having Little Man fight me tooth and nail when it came to getting his school work done, and the recent eclipse (so an intuitive friend tells me), yesterday was a really, really hard day.
As much as I tried to not act out by using food, I did. Not horrendously, but sugar and carbs were definitely my friend last night. And so were tears. Being mostly alone (the teen lives in his bedroom with fans constantly on for white noise, and headphones on, and hubby was at work), after trying to distract myself using food and television, I finally allowed tears to flow. Tears of grief. Tears of all the dreams I had for my son that will never be. Dreams that died one by one. And tears helping my new energy integrate by allowing the old to leave.
Having spent my son’s entire life trying to find the balance between supporting and pushing him, there have been times when the weight of it all broke me. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself in my car outside his elementary school crying, or hiding in my bedroom crying.
These are things that especially happen for parents of special needs kids – when our kids don’t hit milestones like their peers. When our dreams and expectations die one by one. When they’re struggling and nothing we do seems to be helping. And now that they’re finishing high school and are expected to move into independent living: supporting themselves and having relationships, life is getting real in a whole new way.
Some days it seems like all we see is where our kids struggle. Things they don’t understand, skills they lack and may never develop well, and mental health issues that will impact them for life.
There are some supports in place for kids with severe disabilities, ones that impact their lives dramatically. But there are many kids who fall in-between. Kids like Little Man who have struggles in a handful of areas of their lives, but not so severe as to qualify them for state and federal aid. There’s no safety net for them except their family and perhaps friends when they’re older.
This can be a scary time for us. Until we figure out a plan, something we feel good about, until we have some sort of vision for our child who is no longer a child but not yet an adult’s future, this limbo can be fucking miserable.
With so many things coming to a head last night, my girlfriend, a fellow special needs parent, and I both mourned over what would never be. Both of us, having had a particularly rough day, commiserated via emails and texts late at night.
And in the dawn of a new day we go on. We regroup, wipe our tears and try to remember to breathe. We take a minute to take care of ourselves and jump back on the horse. That’s what a special needs parent does. And so often the burden rests primarily on Mom. With no manual on how to raise our kids who are all so very different, we figure it out. One step at a time. Cobbling together information from here and there, finding support from others in the same boat, we figure it the fuck out and go on.