Even at 38, I sometimes wish I was just 6.
6 seems easier. People tell you what to do when you are 6. They look after you. They feed you. They buy what you need and take you places you need to go. They make the most important decisions for you. Admittedly, a 6 year old may see important decisions as what sweets to buy at the corner shop, but I mean the life decision stuff. All that gets left to other people. The people, mainly mum and dad, who have your best interests at heart.
Then the growing up happens. Before you know it, as much as you don’t feel ‘adult’, the years have passed and it’s you that is making those decisions for your own 6 year old. How can that be right when you don’t feel old enough or able enough to do that! But at 38 I’m wayyyyyy old enough – but this doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing.
All of the above bears relevance to most people just travelling through life, it has nothing to do with having children with special needs. It’s just part of life – having to make decisions where you just don’t know what to do.
However, when you are making decisions for your children things seem to be harder. That overwhelming responsibility for the welfare and happiness of another is huge. You play that internal mind game with yourself….but mainly it’s overridden with the heart wrenching feeling of ‘I hope I’ve got this one right…..’
Then you have to sit back and wait.
Recently, I had to make a decision for Zach about his schooling. Over the last few months the demons of meningitis have shown their true colours and as much as I like to find those demons and bat them away from my baby boy, it turns out my weapons aren’t fully destructive. His learning disability and just the fact he sees the world differently, including finding learning incredibly difficult, means we needed to make some changes.
I don’t take decisions lightly. I think, assess, ponder, worry, pick apart and consider the bones of everything. When it comes to big things, I seek advice from those around me. Of course family, but in this case the many professionals that make up ‘Team Zachary’ and the huge individual professional contributions they each make. Then I ponder it some more. Eventually I then reach a decision of what to do. It’s a process!
What is interesting though is that more often than not, it’s the decision that was the one my gut told me to do in the first place. Gut feeling has never let me down yet and I hope it doesn’t this time round.
So, from September Zach will repeat year 1 and not progress to year 2 with his brother.
Having twins in different year groups will be interesting! Better invest in some good trainers to run from one classroom at pick up time to the other.
Zach doesnt really understand it all. He only knows he’s staying with his teacher and will get new classroom friends. He’s confused where his other friends are going and why they won’t be with him. It’s hard enough making a decision but when the little fella has no comprehension or ability to understand the reasons behind it all, I just feel like the ‘bad guy’. But deep down I know this is right. My gut told me. It’s a shame though my gut can be so right but be bloody painful at the same time.
Things will be ok. Zach will be ok. This is the right choice and I have the most amazing and brilliant school where I drop Zach every day and they nurture him to his core. I trust them implicitly. His teacher is incredible. I can’t speak highly enough of them. I have to give him this chance and we’ll see where this chapter takes us. It’s the right thing to do.
I can’t fix everything. I can’t solve everything. I often think that this is the biggest lesson I may have learnt over the last few years. As a parent, it’s your job to keep the children safe, to protect them and help them in every way you can. I do all those things but I can’t change the past. That ‘oh I wish this was different’ devil is once again sitting on my shoulder. I can’t change what happened or turn back the clocks. The meningitis has robbed him of so much and it changed the pathway of his life. I can’t fix that.
What I can do is try to make that pathway easier. That is what I’m doing in making this decision. It’s made, it’s happening and I’m doing my best. Isn’t that all any of us can do?
Although my gut tells me yes, I very much feel I’m wearing my best ‘Winging This’ t-shirt right now. Why isn’t there a handbook for this particular junction we find ourselves at?!
Things were easier when I was 6. Growing up is hard.
Peter Pan got it spot on.
I can’t solve everything as much as I try. I can’t fix everything