I’ve been trying really hard to make a big decision.
I’ve been praying for a very clear answer.
I’ve been talking through it, with anyone who will listen.
A decision that will affect a beautiful five-year-old little girl who underwent a hemispherectomy for intractable seizures. A decision that involves a spunky, blue-eyed angel, with left hemiplegia, who always manages to make me smile.
A decision that will dictate who teaches this precious, special needs child how to read.
A decision that will determine her daily influences, select her classmates, and establish her schedule five days a week.
For the last 2 1/2 years, Gabby has participated in the Exceptional Preschool Program at the local elementary school. She attends three mornings per week, half-days, in a mixed classroom of about 12 students. She has a wonderful teacher and a fabulous teacher’s assistant. She loves her friends and really enjoys classroom activities. Gabby receives OT and PT services, weekly, on the school grounds.
Preschool has been a positive experience for Gabrielle. She has been pushed and challenged to improve in many vital areas. School has boosted Gabby’s confidence, increased her ability to function independently, and strengthened her communication skills. Gabby’s fine motor skills are taking off and she is now forming letters. She participates in circle time, follows instructions, and interacts appropriately with her classmates.
But preschool cannot last forever.
And as May approaches…
we have a decision to make.
What to do about next year??
Gabby is being recommended for a standard Kindergarten classroom averaging about 22 children. She would attend school five full days a week and continue to receive services. Gabby would be pulled for extra help by the special needs teacher at her school. This teacher happens to have a daughter of her own, with left-sided hemiplegia, who’s now in middle school. She is all too familiar with the challenges that lay ahead of us. This teacher offered to meet with me (out of the kindness of her own heart) and Gabby’s current teacher, to see if she could help make my decision any easier. (Incredibly nice, right?)
I left that meeting more confused than ever.
I arrived home with my head spinning. Overwhelmed.
Five days a week.
Five full days a week.
No exceptions, unless you have a medically fragile child.
All or none.
None or all.
I asked Duff for insight.
“We would never see her. She would be the family outcast.”
Leave it to Duff to cut through to the very heart of the issue.;)
But seriously, he did.
With those words he pierced this momma’s heart.
He cut through all the uncertainties and insecurities…
I’m not equipped.
I’m not trained.
I already have so much on my plate.
What if she has learning disabilities?
I’ll fail her.
It will be too hard.
I’ll be depriving her of what’s best.
I’ll limit her potential.
I’ll foster dependency.
I won’t push her hard enough.
directly to the part of my being that houses the deepest of loves for Gabby.
The part of my being that grew sick with nausea the first time my baby doll’s eyes rolled to the back of her head.
The part of my being that pleaded to be taken away from this earth rather than watch my child suffer.
The part of my being that sobbed as I washed the vomit away from her listless body after yet another medication had failed.
The part of my being that celebrated the miracle of a day without seizures.
The part of my being that researched epilepsy treatment into the wee hours of the morning.
The part of my being that flew her into New York in search of the best doctors.
The part of my being that slept upright in hospital chairs.
The part of my being that went 7 days without a shower.
The part of my being that spent months in the hospital.
The part of my being that would do it all over again.
All of it.
Because this part of me houses a love, that only a mother/father can know and understand.
A love that has patience when frustration seems the only choice, courage in the midst of trembling fear, perseverance against all odds, and sacrifice when there’s nothing left to give.
And this part of me wondered…
Who better to teach this little miracle…
and train her up in the way she should go?
Who better…. than her mother?
And so with much prayer for strength, patience, courage, endurance, and a self-sacrificing love, I will set my mind to the task of homeschooling my dear, sweet Gabrielle Faith.