Friday, January 14, 2011
How do you go from this,
in what seems like overnight.
In the blink of an eye, my binky baby has turned into a little boy,
and it makes my eyes water.
This week Aiden had therapy with our Regional Infant Hearing Program advisor, who happens to office out of the elementary school that houses the hearing impaired program for preschool and kindergarten. This program is also an option for us to try and send Aiden to, as long as our school district agrees. Instead of therapy though, his therapist and I talked while Aiden played.
Aiden turns three on St. Patty's Day. What does that mean besides the fact that my BABY is growing up WAY too fast?
It means that he will no longer receive Early Intervention services through our county (which pays for his PT, OT, one of his speech therapies, and provides extra funds for community classes such as the music therapy class he's taking at the time).
It means we have scheduled a multi-factored evaluation (MFE), in order to determine if Aiden is eligible for public school special needs preschool (in which we have multiple options of preschools the district MAY agree to send him to that we've been visiting).
It means transitioning from an IFSP (Individualized FAMILY Service Plan) to an IEP (Individualized EDUCATION Plan).
It means Aiden will be under someone else's wing learning language and socialization skills, making friends, having fun, and carrying his "bapac" (backpack) and "uhnba" (lunchbox),
and as excited as I am to think about the benefits he'll receive at whichever preschool setting we choose, and all the fun he's going to have at "sool", and how much language he'll learn, and how much he'll grow all around ...
it all also means I'm just not ready to let my baby go.
It means every time I think about it, my eyes water.
It means that I need to put on my big girl panties and know it's time to let go and let him come out from under momma's wing and gain the independence he is OH SO ready for.
I had no problem sending my older two. None. Nada. Nilch. I don't even think I got tears (not until I saw my oldest walk out the door to middle school).
but now, every time I think about it, I get teary eyed.
So I talked to my therapist, I mean my sister-in-law, and she brought up some very good points.
As many know, barely two months before Aiden was born my dad died from a long, yet fairly quick bout of dementia. He was 55 and way too young. I knew something was wrong with him and worried about him as we tried to figure things out going from doctor to doctor for a good four plus years, took him into my home (on and off) the last two years, and then ran from assisted living to hospitals to nursing homes the last four months. It wasn't easy. At all. I fought (and worked) with doctors, nursing homes, nurses, insurance agencies, and psychologists. I took care of him the best I could. He was my sidekick.
Then two months later Aiden was born. I remember telling my dad the summer I found out I was pregnant. He did a happy dance around the living room. Four months later, he'd make mention of "the baby" but didn't really get it. Three months later, he was gone. I knew Aiden was going to be my strength to carry on. What I didn't know was all I had ahead of me and how much advocating for my dad made me a stronger person and better able to deal with the advocating which was yet to come.
and that's exactly what I've been doing for nearly the last three years. Making sure my deaf son receives the best medical/hearing teams possible to provide him the chance to hear and a life of listening and spoken language; running from audiology appointments all over the state every two to four weeks for nearly a year until his maps are finally right; getting second opinions when that mom instinct kicks in and knows something still isn't right even though "the professionals" say everything is fine; running to therapy after therapy appointment; talking, talking, talking about every.little.thing in order to provide a language rich environment and making EVERYTHING (yes, everything) we do an "experience" to soak his brain with nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, etc. to TEACH him (over and over and over again) something that would seem so simple and that any typical hearing child learns through incidental listening.
He's become my sidekick.
Learning, growing, experiencing,
and honestly, I'm scared. The one person who filled my dad's void is growing up. It's not that he doesn't need me anymore, but more the fact that someone else will be teaching him besides me. I didn't have this problem when he went to The River School in DC, but that was more like the ultimate mommy's day out two times a week. I know I could wait and keep him home another year, but again, I know preschool is the best option for him and believe me, as ready as I seem not to be, I am willing myself to be, because I know how much he'll benefit and how much fun he'll have.
But deep down inside, my stomach knots up and I get a lump in my throat with the thought about not having my sidekick, day in and day out, who means the world to me to take care of and play with and teach and love on all day long.
But I'm sure, deep down inside, there's a part of me who will learn to enjoy
the time away from each other and the tears won't last long.
and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to fill that void,
and take this long overdue time alone to find myself
and rediscover who I am, as my own person,
without a sidekick.