What an emotional day, it happens every year about this time, and every year I am sure I will feel optimistic and blessed. And… every year I feel defeated. Today I even ended up crying in the middle of the meeting. So thankful that I can do I.E.P (individual education plan) virtually and not in person and there is a lovely mute button to hide my sobs. I am even crying as I write this. For those of you who don’t know an I.E.P. is a form that public schools use to give goals to improve the education process and better meet the needs of your child. However, for the mom on the other side, it is a 25 page document of all of your child’s weaknesses written in black and white. And though Sam loves the black and white of situations, his mamma needs that paper to show lots of gray (or pink and orange in honor of Sam)! Many days as a mom I beat myself up knowing I haven’t done enough… wonder how can I find the “thing” that will make things connect for Sam. I spent my lunch time in a meeting with people who do not really know my child on how he thinks and processes. They tell me on one “test” (PSSA, my favorite) he is below average. Well, I can give you a list why! Yet on another “test” he is average (but I know full well it was because of good guessing). And the whole time I really want to SCREAM – “Sam is anything BUT average! He is a amazing, creative, loving, honest, etc… he is anything but average! “ And well, it just breaks my heart and puts a knot in my throat and heart, because they just don’t know him, and the school system so wants to define him by his weaknesses in 25 pages of paper. His teacher is amazing and listens to what I am saying and tries to put the accommodations and my comments, but it doesn’t change the system. I just laugh when they tell me Sam will have a writing test for his PSSA this year. A writing test, without someone to dictate to, will equal his name on the paper and maybe one or two sentences. THEY WILL NEVER CAPTURE SAM, and man what people are missing out on that do not truly know him! It gets harder to bounce back from these meetings! But, I have to renew my resolve… (Of note: I must say that the cyber school is MUCH MORE adaptive than brick/mortar schools ever were for him and they will change an I.E.P. with a simple request not taking months to resolve.)
But my concerns are not for Sam alone, I know I have passed along some not so great traits to our daughter. Oh, the night owl thing that I am now resolving with my new work schedule. However, the change is not coming so easily for her. And let me not forget the procrastination piece of my finer character that I have graciously gifted to her as well. When I got home last night after a day of work, she is working away at school – so thankful. But I can tell by our conversation that she is stressed, mostly because of my lovely traits – night-owl and procrastination. I am trying really hard to change me and hope the effects eventually take hold for her. She really thrives with cyber school, and I know it was the right choice for her. The only problem for cyber is it takes her from the social aspect, not that is completely bad without the drama, but it also prevents people from getting to know what an amazing, talented, loving, smart, compassionate, beautiful young lady she is. But, in the same token, she was bullied and destroyed emotionally because she was smart, amazing, talented, loving, compassionate, and beautiful. It was up to us to find a solution, because the system will never see itself as broken!
I would say I worry about our children – and the concern is different for each child! They are like comparing apples and oranges (and that comparison only works in my Big Fat Greek Wedding – lol). But, honestly, it is wanting to have “the answer” to what’s best for them as individuals. It is the overwhelming desire to find “the thing” for Sam. It is the overwhelming desire to help Mary discover her niche in this crazy world and preparing her for whatever road she chooses. I know Christ promises a Hope and a Future, and I want a hand in my children’s lives to find both of those!
So, what’s a mama to do? Keep trying! Overcome my bad habits to mirror to my children a healthier life. Pray harder everyday for wisdom! Dig deeper for “the thing” that will make the difference! Focus on the strengths, not on the weaknesses! Buy more tissues because the tears will keep coming! Remember, I am not alone in these battles, as many other mamas loose sleep over similar battles! BREATHE! Go to bed at night making sure that my children know they are loved! Wake every morning and accept the new serving of mercy from my Heavenly Father!
I like the NIV version Isaiah 40:31 – ” but those who HOPE in the LORD will RENEW their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I just have to get my HOPE focused on the One who can RENEW me!