Catching up…

Have you ever had one of those nights when you felt like you were only half- sleeping?  Not quite conscious, but aware of the turmoil going on in your brain?  Last night was one of those nights.

In the past few weeks I’ve been through Kate’s IEP meeting, gotten a few details about her summer program, and witnessed her 8th grade graduation.  For the uninitiated, IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, and the meeting is where the Special Education  Team hammers out the plan for how she will be educated, including the modifications necessary to help her get through the school day.  The summer program is part of that; one of its main focuses is to transition the students into 9th grade by familiarizing them with the school building, the staff, and with each other , the other SPED students.  Life Skills are also taught and emphasized, through job shadowing, meal planning, preparation, and serving, gardening, community service activities, all with the goal of social skill building, conflict resolution, and job readiness skills.  Fridays they will have picnics and swimming lessons (Kate swims like a fish!), and field trips are planned to Boston, the ocean, and the White Mountains, as well as a canoe trip.  All in 6 weeks!  I am so happy that she will be actively engaged for most of the summer…unscheduled time is really hard for her.  She will also continue her Integrative Manual Therapy at Summit twice a week.

The conflict that exists for me, that is the crux of the turmoil in my brain, is that all of this points to permanence: there is no end to her issues, no brain change, no normalcy.  Writing those words is agonizing.  I’m not sure that I’m ready to face that, not sure I can give up so readily.    Knowing what I know about brain plasticity, about functional disconnection syndrome, about kids whose disabilities were lessened or even disappeared through brain growth, I can’t help but feel that I am missing something here.  I am being dragged kicking and screaming, so to speak, into the mainstream, where it is what it is.  The medical and educational systems do what they know to do for these kids, but I’m just not there.

Sometime this past week the thought came to my mind, a Holy Spirit inspired thought, I believe:  God will get the glory in this situation.  And that’s what I want.  I can only go from there, and look for the path He provides.  I can speculate on how He will lead, but I think that defeats the intent.  It is necessary for me to learn to walk without a plan, without my own desires and needs in front of me.  I need to learn to walk with my ear inclined to the Lord, and He will guide, whispering in my ear, turn this way, now go here, and here…

And finally, Kate’s 8th grade graduation.  She got a diploma.  Barely.  Eighth grade graduation happens because our little school only goes to 8th grade.  It’s a pretty big deal, with caps and gowns, awards, and girls dressed in the latest formal dresses, tottering about on grown up high heels.  It was so very hard to watch- the majority of the girls, fitting into the mold perfectly, thin, poised, beautiful hair and makeup- “normal-looking”.  Kate insisted she wasn’t dressing up, but I insisted that she would at least get some decent-looking sandals, so, 2 days before, we went shopping.  Kate has little patience for shopping, unless she’s looking at CDs, or posters.  But she announced that she wanted a dress.  Buying shoes at all is really hard- her feet are short, but very wide.  Most sandals, her feet spill over the sides.  We had gone to the outlet mall- bingo!  Lane Bryant and Dress Barn!  Flat, dressy sandals on sale for $12.50, dress on 75% clearance for $18.00.  Done in about an hour!  Thank you, Lord!  She was cheerful and happy throughout graduation, got lots of compliments on her dress.  Now I get to look forward to high school…


About Gail Aubertin Brunt

I am: a child of God, saved by grace, living by faith. I am: wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, niece, daughter. I am: fallible, yet forgiven, and redeemed.
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