My stress in amping up. Truly. It is.
I’m trying really hard not to let it take over…but I can feel it coming. Sneaking up on me like I’m emotional prey. I can feel my stomach turning, my heartburn is out of control (e.g. eating Tums like they are Skittles candies), that lump in my throat seems to appear a couple times a day, and I’m having difficulty concentrating.
School starts on Monday. Tucker has been looking forward to going back to school since June 15. I have been looking forward to him going back to school since…never.
That’s not entirely true. I AM looking forward to 8th grade. I trust his general education teachers, I trust the staff at the Middle School, and I even trust this ‘new’ special education teacher. I also like them all…A LOT.
The thing about having a child on the spectrum is this – you are constantly looking ahead. Constantly. It used to be attending a family reunion and making sure we
- had enough sleep two days before
- had a ‘quiet’ place to go
- made the right choice on whether to go or not based on the heat (hot days without a place to cool are simply a no-go)
- took food that he would eat
- prepped him for the social aspects
- talking about the location and what was there
- and so much more.
Right now I’m longing for these days. We have a family reunion on August 30 and we began talking about it today – but that’s not what is amping my stress.
One year from now he begins High School and I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what Special Education looks like there. I don’t know if he will continue on his IEP. I don’t know the teachers. I don’t know how he will do in the more ‘independent’ High School environment. I don’t know how the staff and faculty will receive my advocating. I don’t know that I should continue doing as much advocating; it’s time for him, he knows how – but will he have the courage?
It’s the beginning of the end of his time with us…and I’m fully aware of that. This week my bonus son left for college. I sobbed for four hours – albeit off and on (okay…more on than off). He’s been in my life for five years. When it’s Tucker and Estelle’s turn? I told my husband today he better buy a bucket and a mop and just follow me around for a couple of months. Seriously woman, get a handle. Last week I cried for an hour because his voice is changing. This growing up thing…I’m the captain of the struggle bus.
So – the combination of one child heading to college and another heading into 8th grade feels like the perfect (awful) storm. This is his last year before High School. High School marks the beginning of preparing for college, trade school, or work after high school.
After High School is adulthood –
Okay…now the tears.
I just don’t know and I think that’s why High School scares me. I’ve always told him that he is college bound. I’ve always told him that he can do anything he puts his mind to. We’ve always talked about college as a goal for him. But I don’t know…and in the next couple of years we’ll find out.
What if that doesn’t happen? What if what I’ve been telling him all along is a big fat lie? What if he really can’t? What if the more independent learning environment that begins in High School and continues on an elevated level in college isn’t good for him? What if he fails in that environment? It won’t be a matter of if he wants to or not…the question will be, can he?
Yes – I know, what if he can and does? Most days I am of this positive train of thought…but I promised to be honest in this blog and this is where I am today. My happy feels like it’s slowly being crushed as thoughts of the future continue to enter my brain.
Today I’d prefer spraying him with some type of ‘freeze spray.’ I’m comfortable right where we are. I’d also like to use that spray on kittens and puppies.
My husband often says, “Don’t ask the question unless you want to know the answer.”
I hate being on the fence…but I don’t want to ask the question – I’m not sure I’m ready for the answer. I’m very, very unsettled about his future and it’s my least favorite place to be.
So, one could say, “It’s a year away – you have plenty of time to learn and plan.” That is true – and my brain knows that. It’s all of my other mom parts that are causing problems. In the privacy of my bedroom on this night I have doubts – because I’m human, because I’m not unrealistic, because sometimes I have creeping doubts, because I know what it takes.
Maybe now that it’s out there my stomach will top churning, my heartburn will be nonexistent, that lump won’t show up, and I’ll be able to concentrate. Maybe now that it’s out there I can simply get back to believing.
That’s where I prefer to be.