I'm not ready for school to start. The back packs have been assembled, the school supplies bought, the organization has been done. The pantry has been scoured for sensory friendly scissors and pencil grips that are "nice and squishy". I even found the elusive composition notebooks we need every year (though folders with brads AND pockets have been hard to come by.) I have glue and spirals to excess, but not the desire to send my kids into the care of new personnel, well trained in their needs or not.
Oh, there have been days, when I am worn thin, longing for routine, for the set schedule that comes with the school year. Days when One. More. Moment. of screaming daycare kids running amok at Lego Land has set me on edge. Moments when the lines at Hawaiian Falls or the crush in the lazy river threatens to send me back to a nice shady cabana (we had a 'Summer of Staycations'). But mostly, I've enjoyed the unrushed, go-where-we-please summer moments. Yes, there has been the inevitable (annoying) "I'm bored"- five minutes after returning home from a day of fun. And yes the kids have probably had too much Minecraft and FaceTime. But I am, surprisingly, not ready to let them go.
Maybe it's because the last couple weeks of summer are filled with doctor visits and appointments with school personnel to train and acquaint key staff with each of my boys' individual needs. Or maybe it's because High School is a whole new ball game (especially with diabetes) and I am not sure anyone else can really meet the sensory needs of my 11 year old. Maybe, despite my brave appearance, I am not quite ready to release these young men into the world of big people. After all, as it's been pointed out, "we're not little kids any more." (Sigh... Sniffle...)
Despite the fact that most years I (secretly) rejoice when it's time to go back to school, this year I am left with a sadness which, I suspect, is not unique to special needs families. I wonder, will anybody really take care of them as well as me?
It's not that I doubt the ability of trained staff to meet their needs. In fact, after meeting the school nurse at the high school, I have to say she seems to live up to the word on the street (that she is amazing). I found her to be flexible and understanding, bringing into balance awareness that a High Schooler needs to be empowered to succeed in self care, coupled with a heart to watch over those in her care, ready to step in as needed. A mama could not ask for more. Yet still I wonder, will anybody really love them like me?
They'll always be my babies. At they end of the day both my boys will always, always, always be a responsibility that I cherish. And maybe, just maybe, despite weeks of planning and meetings, despite the need for routine--even beyond the fatigue of summer fun, I am not quite ready to let go, even a little.
I want to hold them close, cherish the moments (taking breaks when needed for the sake of my mental health)- but never let them go. So I guess it's time to 'put on the big girl panties'. Time to let my boys grow up, to add to the lessons of self-care that gift of learning to advocate for their own needs. Time to step back, knowing the way is prepared, to release both my children to One who loves them even more than I do.
So I move forward into the great unknown, determined to trust God with every need- medical and otherwise. Secure in the knowledge that he has a plan and a purpose for these times of transition. Armed with focused prayer- and a box of Kleenex.