Personal

So Much Change So Little Time.

In just a few very short weeks, my world is going to change drastically. Am I being over-dramatic? Probably. Nonetheless, the change that is coming will happen in the blink of an eye and I am not sure I am even ready for it. Mark is going to school in a few weeks. It is his first year in school and I am super nervous about it. I am also about to go from a stay-at-home mom to working part-time time, in school, and still being a full-time mom.

It doesn’t seem like much of a change. In fact, you’re probably reading this and rolling your eyes because maybe you’ve been doing this for years. I applaud you and envy your ability to juggle it all, but it doesn’t change how much of an adjustment this will be to how my life has been for the last 3 years (well, almost 3 years).

I honestly think my biggest adjustment will be when it comes to Mark going to school. In the animal kingdom, mothers protect their young at all costs- with the exception of those that eat their young, but let’s not talk about that. I am worried about how others will treat my son when I am not around. This goes for family, friends, and even teachers and students at school. I know that he will be safe. I know that he will be taken care of, but it isn’t the same.

When Mark was in the NICU, I felt immense guilt. He was no longer in the safest place where I had “complete” control of him (I said this to an acquaintance once and her response was “so you’re saying you’re the reason he has CP.” I have never looked at her the same.) and this is a very similar feeling. At home, in our environment, I have complete control. You can absolutely call me a control freak and I won’t bat an eye, because you aren’t wrong.

I know how my child thinks (for the most part). I know his little ticks (the way he rubs his hands together when he wants you to mimic his movements), and I can prepare for his meltdowns and redirect accordingly. I know when he’s pretty much had it with a situation or when he just needs a hug. As a parent, you pick up on these things the same way you learned your infant’s cries. So I wonder if a teacher could do the same. Could a teacher learn to love a child the way a parent does? Will they advocate for them? Will they intervene if necessary? Children can be cruel. They can tease and bully mercilessly. This happens to children who are not medically complex or without a disability- imagine how much worse it could be for someone who is.

The guilt I feel comes from having to leave him every day in the NICU. The same sinking feeling of guilt is back and with a vengeance. It has me questioning if I have done enough to prepare him for his first step into something that will ultimately help him, guide him, and educate him in ways I am simply not able to. I think a lot of this is about acceptance. It’s time I accept that I will not always be around to protect Mark. It is time I accept that he is growing up to become his own person with his own thoughts and ideas- his own strong will (emphasis on this). I need to accept that this is part of parenting and I will likely experience this again someday.

“I am constantly torn between wanting you to stay my little baby forever, and being excited for all of the amazing things you will do in this life.”