A few weeks ago I sat with 3 A5 journals in my lap, each one lovingly prepared during each of the boys pregnancies filled with thoughts and hopes and dreams, I cried like a baby whilst I paged through each one it seemed like even tough I may not have been at the best place at certain times I had it all figured out in my head, my approach to parenting, the journey we would travel, the places we would go.
Nothing prepares you for special needs parenting, my children are the best part of me and I love them with every fiber of my being, every step of the way through every milestone through every bump in the road I have tried to hold my head high, to make informed decisions and do the best for them in every way I possible can, I could and never would replace them or change them but seeing the difficulties they have faced over the years has left an imprint on my soul, a sadness that pulls at me every so often, I wish that I could give them the easy path I had always envisioned but I cant all I can do is try to make their journey as easy as possible by providing the love and support they need to grow and adapt.
We live in a world where everyone speaks about support systems and help for children/ adults with mental health issues or special needs but the truth is that in South Africa in particular that help leaves much to be desired; when you call the education department and they tell you well you need to send this and this to this person but it cannot be older than this and it needs to reach this criteria and even then the possibility of a school not accepting your child of which there are only 3 special needs options are still up to the school, when therapy is so expensive and certain med's are not covered by even your highest medical aids, when you don't feel or know who to trust because previous 'help' has caused such trauma and confusion, I literally don't know where to put my head some days.
So here I stand, looking on to next year with the realization that our only and best option for my eldest son will be for me to school him around my working hours, the sheer magnitude of how crazy that sounds and the logistics is terrifying yet when you look at online forums and stories it has been and continues to be done on a daily basis by many parents around South Africa who like me in many cases see no other option, this is why I wanted so badly to create a haven for kids like my own who have complex struggles that doesn't allow for simple mainstreaming or even simple cottage schooling.
I find it extremely terrifying that in today's age most woman cannot make the choice to stay at home with their children should they choose because it just isn't an affordable option, I find it terrifying that parents are forced and pushed into corners not being able to provide their children with the support, schooling and help their child may need because of finances or just a lack of concern and afforded treatment options.
At the moment we are honestly just taking things day by day trying to fix some of the hurt and anxiety and trauma carried over from these past few months, my middle monkey has settled in well at his new cottage school, he gets to swim and they have other activities as well so he is in his social element although still somewhat a monkey on occasion, his books and everything for next year have arrived and I am looking forward to seeing him thrive in his new environment next year.
Loghan is studying at the moment, we have reworked his exam schedule in order to give him more study time, I had him redo the entire terms work after we left the previous school in order to access him properly and thus we needed to put in some extra study time, I am looking forward to seeing how he does. I know that a few people have asked what the need for him doing exams now is especially since it wont matter for next year given his previous terms marks and that home-schooled curriculum do not require the previous years report at junior level, but we decided as a family that he needed to carry on as per normal schooling (he isn't on holiday) and that we wanted to see how he fared and if he was indeed ready to go into the next year given that my trust in the previous institution went for a ball of you know what I wanted to make sure for myself that he was at the level that he should be, Afrikaans is something we definitely need to work on but aside from that I am happy.
So now we just need to decide on the curriculum we will be using with him and how logistically I am going to be able to do this.
Its funny that as nervous as I am I feel a certain calmness as well, like everything is going to play out if I just be patient and take each day as it comes, I am still a bit edgy about socialization but if we are only paying curriculum fees I am hoping to enroll on a family membership at a local kids gym where the kids would be able to attend limitless classes on a daily basis from yoga to core strength and ninja skills (much to my middle monkeys delight), I think if I can ensure Loghan attends at least one hour of classes a day if not two then he will not only have access to stimulation exercise and activities but will also be joined by other kids some of which are home-schooled and it will be in a small controlled environment so I think it would work very well for him.
Step by step I know we will find our path as we have so many times before, it doesn't make the decisions any less tough or the journey any easier but we will push through and will come through stronger than before because of these trials.