The changes have not only come from Phoebe, but from me as well. Phoebe went from being the cute little developmentally delayed, "big" baby that would do things late to a child needing a lot of help at school and in life. During her first IEP at school, I cried and cried. (I'm sure they thought I was crazy) I am not sure if I cried because my baby wasn't "typical", or because they all smiled at me with these HUGE smiles that made me feel inadequate as a mom. I took on that role. I got sad, and angry that they actually thought I did something wrong. Did they think I was the reason she was like this? Well, I thought so. The meetings were so hard to sit through. I did it, but I hated it. It was awful to hear all the things your child could NOT do. Just awful.
I was just getting the hang of these meetings, when puberty set in. The puberty year IEPs were the worst. They made me cringe. They were long, and grueling. Her teachers, and staff did tons of work, and I know it wasn't easy, but being the mom was horrible. Your expectations of ever having an average or typical child get thrown out. I would cry and swear. I would ask questions, and hate hearing the answers. There is nothing worse than hearing that your child is THAT child. I had to accept it. I had to accept she had this disability (or disabilities). This was going to be a life-long thing. I had a lot of thinking to do., and a huge adjustment was needed on my part. It took a long time. I put on a happy face. I slept a lot. I tried to act like it was all going to be OK. I cried, and wondered how had this all happened.
I had to think about the future when I really didn't want to. Then I remembered, this isn't really about me. It's about her. I have to do what is best for her and get over the fact that I am grieving the "loss" of a typical child. A child I never had. I was given this child, and I better make her life good. That is what a mom has to do. She deserves that. Once my thinking changed, it became a little easier. She will have a good life after school. A life with me, and then maybe a life on her own with some help.
Now, she has the right team, and I can see a good future for her. Nope, it isn't a scholarship and college at my alma-mater, but it is going to be fun for her. Job skills training, social-skills training, and all the things you need to succeed. (Including meeting lots of new friends!)
Thank-you to all those educators who helped Phoebe along the way. I apologize for my tears, and my swearing in those meetings. (Sort of) Here's to the next set of meetings in post-secondary school! (I'll hold the tears)