I am in the throes of a panic attack. Mostly because I am drowning. Drowning in my self-made lake of work and responsibilities, yes, but also drowning in fear and apprehension about Jack’s upcoming IEP meeting. Upcoming, as in, coming up on Monday at the crack of the damn dawn.
You all know I’ve been struggling with the decision of whether or not to send Jack to kindergarten. I’ve also been struggling with the decision of where to send him if not to kindergarten. And what services I should demand if I do send him to kindergarten. And how to pay for whatever the school district won’t.
While I’ve been visiting schools and asking questions and mulling this all over and turning it over and over in my head, I realized today that Monday is coming fast. I need to figure some shit out and I need to figure it out fast. And I realized how really un-goddamn-prepared for this meeting I am.
I also realized how unprepared I am to know what Jack needs. Christ, I don’t know anything about autism. I mean, I guess I know more than the average person, but compared to all of you other ladies out there, I don’t know shit. I’m learning. And I’m trying to learn more, but I don’t know enough.
I don’t know enough about autism to know what Jack needs. And I don’t know enough about the public school system or IEPs to get him what he needs. And I wish I had a fucking crystal ball that could tell me the things that would help him the most, because I would make them happen, no matter what, but as far as I know, no such crystal ball exists.
And I’ve been worrying that I haven’t been putting enough of my focus on Jack. That I’ve been jauntily living the life of a mom and wife and part-time worker and entrepreneur when I should really just be focusing on being a special needs parent.
I’ve been doing some thinking about this lately, about what it means to be a special needs mom. Even without this IEP breathing down my neck, I have so much on my plate, and I’ve started to wonder if that’s okay.
Is it okay to spend so much time blogging? I love it and it makes me happy, but maybe I should be spending that time learning about Jack. Is it okay to be trying to start a videography business? It’s fun and fulfilling and creative, but it’s time-consuming and expensive. (Hopefully not expensive forever…) Shouldn’t I spend that time and money on Jack? Isn’t he more important?
When I finally get my first chance all day to sit down at 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon and I just really want to do a crossword puzzle and decompress for a few minutes, but that time coincides with Jack’s arrival home from school, shouldn’t I really be utilizing that time for him? (Or, God forbid, one of my other kids?) Shouldn’t I be strong enough to put my puzzle down, hunker down on the floor, and play with my children?
The struggle to find a balance between self and child is hard enough with “typical” kids. What does a special needs child do to that balance? Especially when there are two other children in the mix?
Usually I think I’m a good mom for Jack. But there are days that I think I am not the best mom for Jack. Today is one of those days.