I always take a deep breath before I start writing. I don’t know why. Perhaps, I do it to clear my head and focus, or maybe I do it because I know that I am about to write something difficult. Whatever the reason, it has become a force of nature for me.
This past week was a draining one. The whole year has been tough for Debbie but this week, specifically, was tough for me. In other words, an emotional force of nature, as Vince and I changed the course of Debbie’s future with the stroke of a pen.
We met with Debbie’s SPED teacher and the AP to discuss Debbie’s placement for 5th grade and middle school, and to change Debbie’s educational track from diploma-bound to certificate-bound. We talked about an Autism Program for next year. This program will focus on and teach Debbie the most important life skill – executive functioning. Executive functioning skills are those things that you do each day automatically. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, writing your name, etc, etc. Debbie has basic executive functioning but not enough to help her get by in life. She needs to learn how to function within groups. She needs to learn how to carry out tasks so that she can be a successful, independent adult. I get it. I understand. I have known this for longer than I care to remember.
My heart, however, didn’t feel like listening to the logic in my brain. My heart wants my baby to finish out elementary school with the same kids she has been with since Kindergarten. My heart wants to watch my baby walk across the stage to receive her elementary school diploma. My heart wants many things that it just can’t have. And by Tuesday, my heart shut down and gave into the stress. I was talking to a friend and she started crying. That started me crying, and the next thing I knew, I had a massive headache. I felt nauseous, and I couldn’t stop yawning. I was struggling to stay awake, and all I could see myself doing, was going home and going to sleep. So, I gave into the force of nature. I drove home, unlocked my door, went upstairs, and did the Nestea plunge onto my bed. I fell asleep and did not move for four hours. When I woke up I felt a million times better, and I realized that my heart and my brain were becoming aligned. Logic was in the driver’s seat.
I threw out the idea of an Autism Program for Debbie on my Facebook page, and in return, I received tons of support and words of encouragement. Vince and I had many deep conversations over the week. We forged ahead making a difficult choice, but one that is right for Debbie. On Friday, we signed the papers to make the switch from diploma track to certificate track. We also made the decision to transition from our neighborhood school to the Autism Program, which is at another school. We came to a pothole. However, we are taking our time to navigate carefully around it. I don’t know what the future holds for Debbie. But, I do know that Vince and I are doing everything within our power to make sure she has a chance in this world. We are our own force of nature not to be reckoned with and “we’ll keep on fighting till the end.”