I got the call today. The one from the school. The one that was not like the other ones.
The other calls were discussing little issues, and ways to make things easier for my son. Our school has been wonderfully understanding and helpful with my son starting Kindergarten.
This call was to tell me about the major meltdown my son had today.
It was the kind of meltdown that says unequivocally that he will need a worker with him in the classroom. It was the kind of meltdown that likely will mean he will not be invited to any more birthday parties this year. It was the kind of meltdown that says we will not be able to send him to overnight camp next summer. It was the kind of meltdown that means the other parents will not look at me the same anymore. It was a meltdown that has been building up for weeks.
I think perhaps the most difficult part is that it was the kind of meltdown that lets me know that no matter how many parenting books I read and changes I make to our diets, it is still not going to make everything OK. It also says that as an Occupational Therapist, I am not able to provide enough interventions to be able to help my own child. Sometimes when you have more knowledge, it just raises your expectations of what you should be able to accomplish.
I think the hardest part of having a child with an invisible disability is that it is easy to delude yourself. When things are going well, you can convince yourself that there is nothing really wrong. Friends and family help you in your delusion, also telling you that nothing is really wrong. They convince you to ignore what you feel in the pit of your stomach, and to believe that you are just being overprotective. If you try really hard, you can believe that he will outgrow it.
In some deep part of your mind that you try to suppress, you know the call is going to come. Then it crushes in on you and leaves you raw, again, because it is not the first time you have had an experience like this.
I wonder if it would be easier to have a child with a visible disability. You would know what it is, and so would everyone else. You would grieve, and then accept it, and be able to learn what to do to help your child. Nobody would blame you as the parent. Nobody would tell you that your child just needs a good spanking.
I know I should be grateful. I have two wonderful children. Even though we have our struggles, I love everything about them. We also have a great school. The teacher and the resource teacher have been so helpful and understanding. My son quite enjoyed spending time with the Vice-Principal and Principal today, especially in the quiet Principal’s office.
I think I will have to work on being grateful tomorrow. Tonight I need to grieve. Again.