Thursday, May 20, 2010

A New Chapter in a 13 Year Old Book

This week has signified the beginning of a new chapter in our family. It's been momentous - or seems like it, anyway.

We had our meeting on Monday morning. It lasted for 3 hours! But it was very thorough. We went through Ben's IEP, word by word, almost. Plus, I had a sheet full of questions I'd typed up and then I thought of even more to ask. I am so, so grateful for Terry's presence at the meeting. The change in the atmosphere was palpable from our last meeting when he wasn't able to make it. I could completely sense a renewed attitude of respect. And maybe, too, it's because I had (nicely) let some members of the team know that I wasn't really impressed with how things were going. Ben represents a huge chunk of money so they probably weren't too eager to let that get away (do I sound cynical?).

We walked away from the meeting satisfied and Tuesday morning I was up at 6:30 am (gasp) to get Ben ready for school. Ben was up before 6 - he was so excited! I really did fine. The previous weekend I had been weepy, off and on, with the thought of what was probably in store for this week. But I did fine when the actual day arrived. Ben bounded into school and I had to physically restrain him from bouncing down the hallway as I chatted with his teacher and his aide, who were there to meet him at the door.

Ben hasn't been too forthcoming yet about his days, but I've gotten glowing reports from Mr. K and Mrs. K (his aide). They say that Ben is so eager to learn, obedient, respectful, and polite. Mrs. K said she has been doing this kind of work for 6 or 7 yrs now and she has never before had a student hold a door for her before Ben. That makes my heart feel warm! Of course, though, this is all still new. Will Ben be this cooperative when we hit day 19 or 58, or 453? I don't know. But we are off to a good start, anyway.

I've been amazed at all the support we've gotten throughout this arduous process. I have yet to hear one criticism from anyone within the homeschooling community, which honestly surprises me. I don't know - maybe they're all talking about me behind my back and it just hasn't gotten to me yet! So often I have cringed when attending homeschooling seminars because I've heard speakers assert that the only Biblical way to educate our children is through homeschooling. But my homeschooling friends have been so supportive of me in this decision. One even called me yesterday and told me that on Tuesday she had been out walking when suddenly she felt the overwhelming urge to pray for me. So she did. That is just so humbling to me to think of God moving through someone else for my benefit.

I think Terry must have scared the team into behaving just so. Yesterday when I picked up Ben, Mrs. K was chatting to me about his day and she suddenly stopped, and asked, "Is this ok if I talk to you? Or would you prefer for me to write you out a report every day instead?" I had to laugh. I think we have them walking on eggshells! I assured her verbal communication was just fine. But you know, maybe some of it, too, is that parents aren't always so vested in what is going on with their kids. I wouldn't say that is true of the majority of them, but I've heard enough stories to know it happens. And I'm fairly certain they've come to understand that we are very much going to be on top of all that goes on with Ben.

So, I'm feeling good. Despite all the angst about this, I've had a peace all along that we were headed the right direction with Ben. This week just seems to be confirming that. Tuesday evening I had a chat with a woman that I'll tell you all more about later. She's an author and working on her second book about parenting special needs children. I told her a little bit about Ben and how that today he had actually started school that day for the first time in 7 years. She nodded and commented that as our children get older - needy or not - our job as parents is to step back and allow more people into their lives. And wow, sometimes that is hard!

A new chapter my friend, Debbie, commented to me today, "May the rest of this book be as good as the first chapter has been!"

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