January 5, 2012

One step away…

Posted in Parenthood tagged , , , , , at 7:13 pm by openendedcomment

I am petrified.  Tonight we receive our son’s three year evaluation paperwork.  Next week we sit down with his “team” and discuss his “plan”…and everytime this happens (and it happens every year in one form or another) I want to scream and throw things and in general act like a 2 yr old instead of the “Mom” because when we deal with this, I don’t want to be the Mom.  I want to be a kid.  I want someone else to be the grown-up.  I want someone else to deal with it, to handle it…to do the right thing.  I want that so badly because in this situation, I can’t screw up.  I don’t get a re-take in the test of major-parental-duties.  I hate this.

I hate this even more for my husband.  I just called him and offered him a night out with his friends.  He will need it.  I will need it.  I will need to read through this alone, before him.  I need to know how to prepare him.  It’s what we’ve always done.

Our DS15 is my step-son.  I’ve raised him with my husband with little input from his biological mother for the past 7.5 yrs, so in almost every respect he is “mine”…but really, he isn’t.  His brother, for instance, my DS10, is “mine” all-the-way.

I love my children, all four of them.  I would die for them, I cry over them, I am filled with joy when they have one of those “moments” in life, but there is a difference with my eldest.

It’s hard to define where the difference lies.  I love them the same.  I worry about them constantly, perhaps DS15 a bit more than the others.  I am involved in everything, attend everything, do all I can…but DS15 has always been just a little less “mine”.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where the difference lies, it is there and despite it and maybe because of it, most of the practical and emotional toll of this “plan” falls on me.  I am one miniscule step removed and it allows me to see the whole situation from a somewhat detached view that we’ve learned actually does matter in order to get through these meetings and constant barrages of “issues” and diagnoses with a semblance of sanity and, so far, without actually harming any of the “team” members…though its been close a few times.

My DH is devastated.  He’s been devastated for years.  It is heart-breaking beyond belief to have to realize and then accept that your son is disabled.  It is made harder when his parents and ex don’t choose to/want to believe it…they seem to be of the opinion that 5 private psychiatrists/psychologists, 4 IQ tests, 3 school psychologists and 2 pediatricians counting are wrong.  I can even sort of understand that.  It took my DH at least three years to accept that he wouldn’t just “grow out of it”.

I always knew.

Maybe that’s why I’m one step-removed.  Someone had to accept it all.  Someone had to deal with the situation and help this child in the most appropriate manner possible.  Someone had to drive him back and forth to his Doctor twice a week, 25 miles each way for years on end.  Someone had to do that who could handle what she would hear at said appointments and not break down twice a week, every week.  Someone had to be the bearer of bad news heard at these visits.  And, if you were ever curious, they do indeed shoot the messenger.  I am riddled with holes and learned, finally,to wear my Kevlar vest at all times.  Some say I am cold and other say I am cruel.  I had to detatch…just a little.  I had to keep a safe distance or my heart may have never recovered.

The thing is, after so many years of love and worry, I’m still not as removed as I need to be.

Next week I’m going to sit in a room with seven district employees who are going to tell my DH and I what they recommend for my son’s “plan”…not for high-school, but for his life.  They are going to use words like “group home environment” and “intellectual capability”…they’re going to hurt us in there.  Little needles of words that will poke and prod our souls while they remain clinical and maddeningly accepting.  My DH is going to squeeze my hand.  His nostrils will flare and his voice will grow stern.  He won’t be angry with them or him but at Him and IT.  I’m going to whisper in his ear “calm down, honey” and “it’ll all be OK, I promise” and “we will help him”…as I feign reaching for a pen in the bag I will hang on his chair.

I will ball my fists and walk out with crescent-shaped marks in my palm, but I’ll do it under the table so they don’t see.  I will leave there and drive straight to my office, stopping only once to breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe. Breathe in as there is no out.

I will call my DH; console him.  I will hold him that night.  I will listen and I will support.

I will remain one-step removed.  Even when it breaks my heart.