That 4 a.m. wake up had me on the couch after lunch. It seemed like all was going well this morning until I hit a wall. This mornings meeting had me in tears...before I even entered the building and then again before we even sat down. I drove to the school early to watch the children arrive. I watched as the teachers welcomed the kids happily and while they seemed kind and loving, tears welled within my eyes.

I ran into a veteran special needs mom. I made a couple comments about the drop off and then signed in to wait for my "special services" meeting. As I walked into the classroom, full of small wonders I began to feel myself warm with anxiety. I looked around and thought of my own little one in the classroom, and my being at home. Alone. Tears flowed. I began to get so anxious I felt very defensive. They promised a verbal classroom but no children were talking. Then there was one. And another. I begin to feel more at ease. A friends mom, a well known para gave me a hug and her support was much needed.  Another teacher/friend stopped to check on me and I lost my marbles. She consoled me with her support and reminded me that Serrie will be AOK. I know SHE will but I wondered would I?

We went into the office and sat around the table, I looked at the faces staring back and me and realized I was not at all OK. I was not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in the nearly new school that my other four attended. I wanted to be in the teachers lounge that I knew so well where I spent hours volunteering for people that I knew and loved. I wanted to see crosses hanging on the wall and hear a prayer before we began our conversation. I knew that the teacher my daughter would have next year would be amazing and she was known as a talented educator but my daughter would be without her siblings. She would be without morning gathering, prayers, songs about God that I never realized how much I treasured and I was crushed.

I knew I had to share my feelings of sadness and anxiety. Though I risked judgement I promised them I wanted a team approach and I would be transparent. I asked for the same respect. The staff listened and instead of judging, knowingly nodded and supported that loss of the dream I had of my children ALL being together, in one school. As an only child, I dreamed of my 8th grader being the big buddy of my youngest child. I wanted to know what each year would bring because the school is really all I knew. I felt broken. As soon as I shared this, the atmosphere lightened. I realized all the trepidation I had regarding the "school" wasn't the "school" at all. Those teachers, the educators, the staff, they aren't doing it because they don't like kids, nor are they doing it because they want bundles of money but they are doing it because they are called. They are called just like the teachers in my other children's school.

The rest of the meeting went well and though I had been told not to sign anything I did. The district decided they wanted to re-evaluate and in order to move forward and plan that next step I had to sign. We were able to set up our next evaluation appointment. I was blessed because the people who will be administering the tests will come to me. I also let the school Psychologist know she will have to be there to support me on that first day of school when my not even three year old goes into their building to begin her individual journey. One thing I don't think I will ever understand is the amount of time, the amount of work and the number of meetings that this all entails. Until I was walking in the shoes of a special needs parent, I had no idea how much work parents of special needs kids REALLY did and I realize I am lucky because my child only is autistic.

This afternoon I was exhausted. The meeting and Seraphina's therapy wore me out but after a quick cat nap (thank God for my parents), I am back on the bandwagon and ready to face the challenges that come my way. As I walked to calm Seraphina this afternoon I read a quote that said "Go ahead world, keep giving me lemons, I will keep making good sweet lemonade".


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