When Reality Hits... It Can Sometimes Hurt! (This is LONG!)

This past week I had a meeting with my daughter's school. It's always a little scary to have a meeting when your kid has special needs. You NEVER know what they might say or how they might feel your kid is doing. I guess it's that way with any kid, huh!?  Since her goals are not the same as a typical 2nd grader I already know that things will obviously be at a slower pace and a lower level, but it's still sometimes hard to hear. After 9 years it is STILL hard!

I was really nervous about this particular meeting because they had mentioned at a previous one that they may want to move Caroline to a different setting/classroom. This would mean that the kids would be lower functioning and I was NOT happy about it one bit. Caroline can read pretty well and she is making slow progress in some of her math skills. Academics are really hard for her and she can be socially awkward with her peers, but she can socialize! The classrooms that they were considering had kids with limited language and most could not read or do math at all.

You'd better believe I was praying and seeking the Lord for His compassionate hand to be on our situation. I know that there is a scripture in Psalms that says "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." I prayed that over and over again! I just kept asking the Lord to show us His goodness and to show the teachers what was best.

The Lord has been so good to us and put people in our path who know a lot about special needs. Since I have been the special needs coordinator at our church the Lord has truly shown me that we are not alone and that our situation could be so much worse (SO QUIT YOUR BELLY ACHIN! and be glad for what you have... yeah, He said that to me! :)!!

One mom also works with kids with special needs as her profession. She was the compliance facilitator for a special needs SCHOOL (like ALL of the kids have needs and she knows the law backwards and forwards... so she kept their entire school up to date on things in the special needs world). I explained my concerns about our teachers wanting to potentially move Caroline and she agreed to go to the meeting with me and my husband ! I could not believe it! God just works in amazing ways! He just does!

Well, the meeting was on Monday and I went to church on Sunday just ready to wear the altar out with my request for God's favor in this situation. I got the the altar and I could not pray. It was like the Lord was saying "You've brought this. I know your need. Rest." I made it to my seat and got ready to hear the sermon. Guess what it was about!?  Trials that we anticipate. Things that we can't see, but that we stress over. Not knowing WHAT'S around the corner but trusting WHO is around the corner! Oh, yea. The pastor might as well have started the sermon with "HEY! MELISSA! This one's for YOU!"

Monday morning comes and I get a text. My friend (with ALL of the knowledge) says that her childcare for the afternoon fell through and she can't make it. I panic a little, text her back with a few questions and pray. God said, "It will be ok! I will be there." I regain composure. That afternoon  my husband comes home from work early. He walks up the stairs and as soon as I see him I know... he had a fever! I LOST IT! I started crying and saying, " I CAN NOT DO THIS BY MYSELF! I CAN NOT!!" (Because it's all about me! Poor guy, with a fever and stomach bug and I am crying about ME!)

I call the teacher and say that I want to reschedule. She said, "Are you panicking about us moving Caroline? We are not going to do that. We don't want to see her in that environment. We are going to just look at her goals and how we can help her best here at our school. We've checked. Right now there isn't a better place for her."

What? You are not moving her? I've almost given myself an ulcer for NOTHING!? Oh, I was so mad at myself for not trusting God. He had told me time and again that it would be ok. People were  praying for us like mad and God had even not allowed me to pray about it because He told me that He was in control. Yet, I continued to stress and worry... ALL FOR NOTHING!!!

The hard reality that they did present to me that day is that Caroline will probably not graduate with a diploma. As we look at her abilities now we have to realize that pre-algebra and calculus are probably not realistic expectations for her and those are requirements for graduation. They do feel that we can work with her and teach her some skills so that one day she might have a job and possibly live on her own or in a group home. Middle school is currently 3 years away for us, but those years pass quickly and the middle school setting is a lot of "inclusion" where the kids with special needs are in regular classes and the special ed. teachers are there to help modify assignments. Caroline probably can't function in that environment very well. We need to be looking at what would be best for her at that time.

When you havea baby you just never anticipate that things will be nothing but wonderful for him/her. You never think that your child won't go to college and you don't plan to have to adapt every part of their lives for them. When I look at those who have children with more severe disabilities I can only imagine the heart of that mom. She got pregnant and had a child that she had great dreams for. Now, those dreams are different and there is a different path that she's having to take. Not that the path isn't good. It is good! It's just different and it's not the path that she thought she'd take with this child. Any child with even mild disabilities bring challenges that parents never anticipate. It's hard not to compare your child with other typically developing kids and it's hard to not want what they have for your own child... just being honest and real.

So.. reality is hard, and sometimes it does hurt, but we are not lying down and quitting. We've got work to do.. spelling words to learn, math problems to do, reading that needs to be done. We are just going to keep working and keep trying and never give up because we never EVER know what God has in store. He may allow us to go through trials like these so that we can minister to those who come behind us. He may allow us to see Him do a miracle in the life of Caroline that could only be explained by His mighty power! What mama would not pray for Him to touch her and just heal whatever has caused these difficulties? He made her... He knows! I just know that without Him I'd be in much despair and there would be days that I probably would worry myself sick! SO.. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! Let's live this life to the fullest!


Patty Sumner said…
Thanks for sharing this post. It is good to remember that God is in control (if we let Him be). I just want to say, God bless you as you minister to your daughter. I know God will do great things in her life as He is doing in yours. May He grant you wisdom and strength on your journey together. Blessings!
JenB said…
I don't really know what to say except I love you and I love her!
Jeremiah 29:11!
Faith said…
Wow, this post is so powerful. Your heart is precious and I'm so thankful to have you in my life. You are a blessing to so many, and especially to your sweet girl. She is such a gift and God is going to continue to use her in mighty and amazing ways. I love you both!!
Mandy said…
Melissa - I really loved this post. I admire you and your love for and trust in the Lord. Continue to model that for sweet Caroline, and you really can't go wrong. After all, what else is there? Glorifying God is the most important thing.
So blessed to know you!
Cindy said…
What??? No, no, no!!!

The schools here in Washington State have adapted the graduation requirements for those in special ed and those kids DO Graduate! Beth wore her cap and gown, walked out onto the field hearing yells and screams from the audience, walked proudly across that stage and got her diploma!

Keep asking, do research, check out other districts and pray! There's no reason your district can't adopt Graduation requirements for kids with Special Needs.

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