Last week I took my 3 year old son to his evaluation with Early Intervention. If he still qualified for services he could attend their preschool program. I was eager for him to get in and have the small classroom size and the extra attention to help him get ready for kindergarten. Although I had seen so much improvement in him recently and I didn't know if he would get the right scores needed. I thought maybe he would just barely make it in.
When we walked in the nice woman asked, "How is he doing?" My jerk response back was, "fine." But then I asked, "Well, what is that in reference too?" He is happy and healthy today but we are obviously here for a reason.
I anticipated how draining it was going to be for me. What else happens after talking about your child's needs and struggles for a few hours while trying to keep him happy and entertained as they test his development and of course he refuses to cooperate for most of it.
Sitting in the play room, waiting for the results, I could feel it. Tired. Ready to go home. I was just here doing this evaluation with our other daughter, Katie. She is the same age and we did the same tests. She has, on some levels, more severe needs and her results were how I expected them to be. With James, I made assumptions about his results and realize that was not smart.
As I get handed the paperwork I hear that he qualifies. Part of me is happy for him to continue to get the special services. We are in this program for a reason and we do have struggles with his development and behavior. Then I hear that his scores showed a greater need. More than I thought they would. He qualified in all 6 areas tested instead of just the 2 that were needed to be in the program.
I felt sad. It snuck up on me. I was trying to be an advocate for him but I am also his Mother and it is hard to hear that your child is behind. Why was this so hard for me?
I think so often with the different foster kids and now some of the kids we adopted I haven't felt the typical unfounded guilt that comes with parents who have children with special needs. I know their needs have come from some of the specifics of their stories and births and I haven't felt emotion attached to their needs. Maybe frustration or helplessness but I think today was the first time I felt a lot of sadness. I didn't see it coming really. I have always spent so much time fighting for the kids and being professional about their situations. Today I was able to hold it together but on the drive home I couldn't help but call (with my bluetooth of course) my Mom and cry.
Hearing your child has a communication disorder and that he will take with him to kindergarten made my heart sink. I know that today was just a snapshot in time and I of course don't think he will be ruined if he has these needs but I was so sad for him today. Sad that he has had to work so hard to keep up. Sad that the drugs he was exposed to did damage to his body and makes it hard for him to regulate himself. Sad, while I watched him play with the trucks and I listened to his results and signed paperwork allowing him to be in the program.
I could see how drained he was after the appointment. His anxiety has improved the last few months but I don't blame him after working so hard to get through this appointment. He fell asleep on the way home and was wiped the rest of the afternoon. I was too. It was a lot to digest.
I found myself struggling with being sad and at the same time trying to keep my eyes on Jesus. I wanted to keep faith in Him. I wanted to give my emotions to Him and trust my son with Him.
I was talking to my husband that night and telling him how hard it is not to put my kids in a box when all I do is talk to these therapists about them being in the box.
At the same time I long to keep perspective. My son is only 3 years old. He has a life ahead of him. I think today I was more shocked by my reaction. I tend to keep the emotion in and didn't expect to be so upset about it today. There are people who hear worse news than this every day. I am thankful for him to get services and help him continue to make progress.
So as I still digest our plans for therapy I pray that God will remind me that my hope is in Him. I want to be hope for my children and not get stuck over these results or future results and struggles. They are hard to hear but I want to remember that they are a starting point. I can't wait to see what God does with each of my kids and their lives. They are His creations and I am blessed to help them along each day. I hope to remember that I am their cheerleader and can show them how to live outside the box.