Monday, June 6, 2011

Graduation Day

This was taken at my mom's wedding May 15, 2011. I love this picture of Phoebe so much. Yes, I'm aware you can see my chonies.

Today was the last day of Phoebe's Mommy & Me for the "school" year.  I'm not sure if we'll be back in the fall with the older kids as we are still trying to determine the best course of education for her (weighing the benefits of being with her parent vs. the intensive speech therapy she'd be receiving at a Special Needs preschool).

I had so many moms I wanted to give my number, but didn't.  I just don't do that sorta thing.  And I left feeling sad at the passing of another phase in our lives.

We started that class last November, I guess it was.  The kids were all younger (they're all turning 2 now, whereas little missy will be 3 in 2 weeks) but we all shared moments every Monday.

When we started, I was so uncomfortable.  I didn't know how much to share about Phoebe and how different she was.  She didn't want to do circle time.  I just let the other moms believe she was the same age as their kids.  Until the day Phoebe read the alphabet on the wall and that gave us away.  "Wait -- how old is she!?"

Today I comfortably discussed Phoebe's in-utero brain injury with two moms as easily as I would her most recent diaper (disgusting, in case you were curious).  One mom shared her son has Asperger's (an older son not in that class) and I -- bastion of knowledge about such things -- told her who to contact to get help for her son.

I lamented our lack of "official diagnosis" other than "brain injury" and as I said the words, I flinched a little.  The moms I was talking to gave me a pity face and I was strong.   I just kept talking.  And I didn't cry the entire drive home over the lack of connection I usually feel with moms of typical kids.  And I said it.  I consider that a major victory.

While we still try to figure out where we "fit" in the spectrum of special needs vs. typical, I feel a sense of relief in sharing and no longer keeping Phoebe's disability in the closet.  It's so freeing to not feel like I'm hiding something (not that I ever was, I just didn't want to get into it for fear I'd lose it).

What's funny -- to me at least -- is last week we went to the park and a woman was there, comparing Jack with her son (who was older, but I'm not sure by how much).  She kept saying he was so big, and walking so well and seemed so much older than almost-1.  And I really wanted to tell her "Hey, all kids are different -- she didn't walk until 22 months!" but then I would have had to get into low muscle tone and I just wasn't in an "educating" mood.

But I felt the sting of comparing children and one falling short.  And I realized it really - truly - doesn't matter where your child is on any "scale" and parents are always going to worry about their children not measuring up. I just found it so funny to me to get the "How old is your child?" question, this time about my neurotypical one.  I guess that's just how it goes.

Today, I answered.  And educated.

And I have stopped taking such questions so personally.

And I consider that a step in the right direction.

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