What Is Best

What is best?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself that over the last 12 years. It is never clear, it is never easy to determine.

Olivia started junior high this year. I was extremely worried about how she would handle all of the changes. She had a new bus driver, new teachers, new classmates, new building, new everything and I wouldn’t be there before and after school. I was so, so, so worried about how that would go.

It’s gone really well.

She gets on the bus with no fuss. She doesn’t cry and carry on during the day. She gets off the bus at the sitter’s house even though I’m not there. When I ask her how her day was, she says “GRRRREEEEAAAATTTTT!!!!” and smiles.

It makes me so happy to hear that she’s transitioning so well. If you would have told me this last year, I would have been over the moon. I would have just been thrilled to hear she was safe and happy.


I got her schedule last week for open house. It said Art period 1 and then special ed room for the rest of the day. Which means she’s only with “typical” kids for one period of the day.

My heart sank. This is not what I wanted for her. This is not what she’s used to. I also found out that she goes to lunch with the other kids in her special ed room before everyone else gets there. Which means they sit together and not with typical kids. This bothers me too.

I don’t want her to be the “weird” girl they only see at lunch and during 1st period. I want her to be Olivia. I want her to watch them and see how they act and emulate that as well. I want her to be a true part of school and maybe even make friends.


She’s happy. She’s transitioning well. It’s all good. Shouldn’t that be enough?

I talked with Matt, who never ceases to amaze me with his calmness and wisdom, and he reminded me that it’s the first week of school. The teacher is new, Olivia is new, everything is new. We should just be happy that for right now, she’s happy. Maybe in October we can start think about integration.

It’s so easy for me to make decisions based on emotions. It’s hard to take the emotions out of it. It’s sometimes difficult to focus on what is best for Olivia, not what I think or feel she needs.

I just want to know integration is on the horizon. I just want to know that she’s not locked away somewhere like someone who doesn’t deserve to be with everyone else. I want her to maybe even make some friends. I want so much for her sometimes I can’t keep it all inside.

But for right now I’m just going to focus on what is best: she is transitioning well and she is happy.

O 12


15 responses to “What Is Best

  1. First of all, this picture of Olivia is absolutely stunning!! Joy radiates from her! Secondly, I love how you expressed this scenario~ I think so many moms would agree whole-heartedly with the dilemma of your longings. But I appreciated Matt’s perspective because my momma bear heart tends to take over sometimes too quickly. Transitioning in so tough~ I am glad you were a few days ahead of Cooper and I so I could see her “GREEEEEAAAT”ness!!! I remember finding Olivia shortly after Cooper was born and diagnosed~ I feel like I am on a virtual journey with you! Your emotions have served Olivia well~ thank you for sharing your heart!

    • Tiffany Townsend

      Thanks, Lisa! It is so good for me to have Matt b/c my Momma Bear comes out instantly and that’s not always what is best. I am so glad to have you too! Have a great day!!Tiffanywww.elastamom.com

  2. I love that you always want more for her. Love it.

  3. I can see how you’d be torn, Tiff. Keep talking things out with Matt and encouraging Olivia to stretch her boundaries a little. SO glad she’s having great days!

  4. I agree, she should integrate as much as possible. Grace is on a block schedule and I realize after watching a little bit of what Grace filmed on her own iPad that the separation is much larger than I expected. I love Grace’s SPED teacher, he wants what I want, He wants her to be as active in her classes as possible. As a former teacher, (secondary) I told him I would work up lesson plans that are scaled down versions of what the kids are doing in class so she can be on the same page. I’m thinking of you, I know its hard – you are her advocate!!!! Get what you want and do what you know will help her thrive.

    • Tiffany Townsend

      I agree, Melanie. I got a note today from her teacher that she is going to Science tomorrow with peers. 🙂  Have a great day!!Tiffanywww.elastamom.com

  5. Oh my goodness, I understand how you feel completely and we’re only two weeks into kindergarten, which is completely integrated right now but I, on the other hand, worry that it’s too much for her and she doesn’t have a one to one aide and what if she gets overwhelmed and starts to hate school and and and…

    We can’t help the worry. We’re moms and our girls are so, so special.

    My husband is pragmatic like yours, he reminds me that right this second, O is happy, she’s dealing with full day school really well and she’s eating the lunches we pack for her and she’s doing her homework for us each evening and that’s enough for now.

    It has to be. Right?

  6. I love that her transition has gone so well. I think best continues to evolve given the situation. Being patient with that process can sometimes be overwhelming, but I know Matt will guide you in getting through.

  7. I wish every single one of my students had you for a mom. I know you’re not perfect–you strive to keep it real on here and I appreciate that. But really, from watching my students I’ve seen what a true difference it makes in their lives whether their parents want the best for their child or just the best for themselves. You inspire me!!

  8. This has to be really, excruciatingly hard for you and I admire you for examining all angles and going with what you think will be best. I hope you can find a balance and in the meantime, it is great to hear that the year is starting off happy for her!

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