I haven’t posted for a while. Things are going well with Maddi. Sometimes it is hard to remember that she has severe traumatic brain injury. Other times it is entirely obvious.
Summer is derailing my intentions for educational rehab for Maddi. I don’t want her to miss out on activities with her friends and I also believe in JOY and HAPPINESS as well as hard work and persistence.
I am finding it difficult to push the latter. I have also been heavily involved in some other necessary things that have fully engrossed my life like trying to come up with a financial plan for our future.
I have alluded to the fact that our life has taken a serious detour but I haven’t given any details. That is partly due to the fact that sometimes people do not need that much information and partly because things have been completely up in the air.
Those of you who know me personally know that I LOVE teaching first graders. That is my passion outside of motherhood. I have spent much of my time and energy being extremely successful as well. And did I say,I love it!
One of my characteristics (for good and bad) is that I give 110% and more if I can, even if it isn’t required. According to my husband, I have two speeds; On and Off. I would have to completely agree with him. I envy those people who can pace themselves.
This full blast tendency of mine makes me highly effective in most things but it leaves me exhausted in the balance and I had to be very specific in what I chose to do.
For me it was family, my faith and school. That was it. Nothing more, otherwise I would have crumbled like the little house of cards. It was a constant battle and required diligence to establish balance and to make sure my priorities were correctly aligned.
However, there is an opposition to ALL things and this is not exempt. It takes a lot of physical, mental and emotional energy to fill the needs of all those sweet ones in my class.
With the new elements in my life and Maddi’s recovery still an ongoing issue I cannot go back to teaching right now. It has been a loss that required the grieving processes. I know it is unusual but I LOVE spending my day helping children learn but I love my family more! They have always been first.
At school, I have to connect with each child and fill their needs completely or I cannot rest. I know how precious these little ones are, not only, to their families but to our future as a whole.
I also recognize how influential I am in building the foundation for education, character and self-perception. I have to be top of my game or instead of influencing for good I could do the opposite. I am deeply committed and I fully understand my impact on children.
The journey I am on with Maddi’s recovery leaves very little energy in the balance. Working would mean that someone or something would have to fall through the cracks. That is unacceptable. Neither group should suffer; my family or my class they both deserve my best.
In the past I have been able to balance both roles but in my new world that is impossible, at least right now. I hope that it will become possible, as we get further into Maddi’s recovery and the journey moves to acceptance of new abilities.
Right now we are just trying to regain her skills and there is no manual for that and time is the most important! The earlier she rewires the more successful she will be.
I know my limitations, I cannot maintain the intensity it takes to be the kind of teacher I am and have any patience left to help Maddi navigate through four and five hours of homework. The time frame alone would put her at a disadvantage.
She is doing fabulous but the organization part that helps her prioritize the order and the things needing to be done has been affected by her brain injury.
I hope that over time we can help her establish some procedures that will allow her some independence in that area but that doesn’t happen by accident.
Just like with my first graders, learning is not an accident. The ones that have involved parents to help reinforce and further establish the pathways created in their brains at school create a permanency that those children will use forever.
That is what I am doing for Maddi, the only difference is that we have to go about it differently and at an age that it is expected that she already has those pathways built.
The schools cannot fill this need for her. It isn’t that they won’t. The structure of the school system is for broad education not an individual one. Being an educator, I know the limitation of the structure and this is definitely outside its realm.
Anyway, that being said, not working is taking a toll on our financial well-being. It has been six months since I have received any pay and it wasn’t like I had any preparation for that loss or the new expenses of the situation. I didn’t have time to shuffle my financial deck before it became a 200 card pick up in the middle of the floor.
When I began working 10 years ago we were really good at putting that pay into the extra pile but as the paycheck became steady and reliable it didn’t stay there. Besides children become more expensive as they age instead of less so. I think formula and diapers were an easy expense to calculate compared to the varied needs of teens. So my paycheck became relied upon. So this has put a bend in our road but it is just that……. a bend.
So many times in the early moments, my husband and I would say, “We would give anything to have Maddi wake up.” So in the shadow of those thoughts all of this financial woe is relative.
When I was fighting to get the therapy Maddi so desperately needed and I told the team of doctors and support staff, that I would write out a check and pay for it myself and I didn’t care if I lost my house or everything I owned. I was completely serious.
Considering what we were willing to give up, we are getting off easy. We won’t lose our home and even if we did, everything(material wise) is replaceable. Happiness doesn’t come from things. It might be a difficult bend in our road to walk but it is so much easier knowing our family is intact and Maddi has a bright outlook and future.
So the innate teacher inside gets to work on a very personal project for a time, things could be worse! I get to use all my skills to make a difference for my family and for Maddi. That makes letting go so much easier but…………………..
I WILL MISS…
- the bright smiles on the first day and the joy the kids feel when they “really” read a chapter book.
- the beautifully written first grade stories that make me laugh.
- taking a concept from beginning to end to create a desired outcome.
- the hugs that I know “technically” I shouldn’t give but how do you say no to outstretched hands.
- the elation they find when they figure out a math concept or make a new friend.
- watching the internal strength gained from facing a “meany” and standing up for themselves.
- the creative way children see the world, unaffected by life’s seasoning.
- the embellished stories children tell of things at home that are only peppered with truth.
- the pure innocence of their trust that I love them and the time spent proving that trust was placed in the right hands.
- the energy I wish I could bottle and sell it to tired exhausted adults and drink myself at 2pm.
- the day to day relationships with colleagues, families and parents.
- the exhilaration I feel when my “kids” succeed.
Most of all I will miss making a difference, whether they remember me or not.
So it is a bend in the road but I am still walking. I still get to make a difference it is just in an alternate venue for a time.