A Moment

Sometimes, even though you’re a glass half-full person, everything catches up with you and you have a moment where you feel like you can’t breathe and your heart is broken.

You are sitting in your daughter’s last IEP meeting of elementary school with her beloved team of teachers and therapists. You’re already biting the inside of your lip and focusing on the document in front of you because you are bound and determined you’re not going to break down into a sobbing mess. Finally, you are into the meat of the goals. The goals are fantastic. They’re perfect for your daughter. Much time and effort have gone into thinking about what she needs and what will help her grow. You are sitting there thinking how lucky she is, and you are, that these people know her so well and can make plans to help her succeed. She will be focusing on continued improvement in communication, fitting in with her peers and life skills. It’s exactly what she needs.

That is exactly when you have that moment. The moment when you feel like you can’t breathe and your heart is broken. It’s weird because you are so proud of how far she’s come and all she’s done but at the same time devastated. Because in that moment you realize that no matter how many goals you set or how hard you all work, she’ll never be “fixed”. All of the talk about helping her fit in with her peers and improving her communication with them makes you realize that she’ll always be different. She’ll always struggle. We won’t be joining the band or working out Algebra equations or playing on a basketball team. Instead we’ll be learning how to sort mail and maybe laundry and cooking. In that moment it hurts. All of the emotions of her initial diagnosis come back to you and wash over you and threaten to crush you.

Thankfully it’s just a moment. You’re sure it won’t be the last and you’re thankful it only lasted a moment. Because in the next moment you’re thinking about how, when she started elementary school, she wasn’t really even talking. She was only walking a little bit. She was hitting and biting and pulling hair instead of using her words. We were working on being able to just be in class with her peers. Now she’s communicating effectively with her teachers and peers and fitting in very well. She walks all around school independently and runs in gym class and jumps on a trampoline. She only hits when she’s overwhelmed or extremely excited. She’s made really good friends. In that moment, and all of the moments that follow, you remember just how far she’s come and just how special she is. She is truly beloved by everyone who knows her. One therapist is teary during the IEP and says that she’ll never forget Olivia. I doubt anyone that has ever known her will ever forget her. She’s not typical, she’ll never fit in like everyone else, she’ll never be “fixed” and that’s perfectly fine with you. Because she’s your precious, perfect daughter and you couldn’t love her more.

O 26

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17 responses to “A Moment

  1. Jennifer Archer

    Beautiful!

  2. Yes, yes, yes to all of this. That moment, the one that almost crushes you before you sit a little straighter, smile a little brighter as you realize how amazing she is even if she won’t ever be ‘fixed’. We all have that moment and then the beauty of our girls lifts us and we know, soul-deep, how lucky we are have these precious souls in our lives.

  3. Thanks for this post. You are always writing it seems what I’m feeling and can’t express. I really need to start reading these before I put on my mascara!

  4. Most of us can’t be fixed. We just need to be loved! You are doing that divinely with your children. She is just beautiful!

  5. Beautiful! We definitely all have those moments and luckily they don’t last forever. Helena has another IEP tomorrow to get more help at school and it is wonderful for me to hear how far Olivia has come.

  6. Amazing, you capture everthing that I feel in that moment. I just had my last one, my daughter graduates in june.

  7. very beautiful post. totally understandable to have felt that hurt, if only for a moment, of what could/should be. but you are right, she is your wonderful daughter and she is perfect just how she is. how lucky she (and you!) has been to have such a great team at the school! they sound fantastic.

  8. You made me cry again πŸ™‚ Beautiful post.

  9. I’ve had those moments too, and fortunately, they are coming less often. Olivia is a beautiful young lady, and is doing amazing things.

  10. That smile. It is definitely one that I will remember. Honest and beautiful post.

  11. Loved this. Why do we go there? When I find myself in that same “moment” you described, a few seconds later I’m thinking, “Who says everyone has to move out and get married and work out Algebra equations?” (let’s face it – algebra’s one thing NO ONE needs anyway – so our gems are actually going to be spared of that torture! lol!)

  12. Hearing you talk about IEP meetings gives me a lot of great insight as a first year teacher. I say YES to all of them (only one gen ed teacher has to come at the HS level…I’m sure you already know that though!) and take the process very seriously.

    PS you rule and EVERYONE has their moments, over far less “moment-worthy” things πŸ˜‰

  13. Oh, my dear friend. I love you and your beautiful heart.

  14. Wow, beautifully written. So glad to hear that Olivia has made huge improvements in school and with her friends. Kudos to you mama!

  15. AS always, your post is bang on! And I just love this black and white photo. She is such a gem. I’m a scrapbooker, and I would never get enough of this picture!!!! Hugs!

  16. I am so very beyond blessed that I get to continue to watch Olivia grow and learn and become an amazing young lady. She is a beautiful soul. I look forward to hearing about her junior high days and all that they will bring for her. I’m so proud of you and all of the opportunities that you have given her. I’m certain her elementary team will miss her as does her preschool team as does her EI πŸ˜‰ She is amazing! I love that you shared this, thank you.

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