Friday, January 30, 2015

Dear Grandma and Grandpa, Don't read this post. Love, Jen

I've been trying to think of something upbeat and positive to post today, but sometimes I just need to vent to get past the funk that's trying to push its way into my mind. So bear with me.

I just got out of a "Transition to 3" info meeting and my heart is heavy with information overload. It's crazy that Ryan is about to turn 3. It brings out a lot of feelings, not only reminders about the traumatic birth and the resulting 7 months in the NICU, but now that he's being evaluated for placement into a special ed preschool program, it sort of highlights his disabilities and forces everything to the surface and it isn't always an easy thing to process.

As I sat in the meeting and they went over the list of qualifying "disabling conditions" that would give a child access to the special education program, I couldn't help but feel like each one was another twist of the knife into my heart.  Here was the list:

Autism (Maybe?)
Deafness (Check)
Intellectual Disability (Check)
Orthopedic Impairment (Maybe?)
Other Health Impairment (Check)
Specific Learning Disability (Possibly?)
Speech or Language Impairment (Check)
Traumatic Brain Injury (Hmmm...lack of oxygen in the NICU maybe?)
Visual Impairment (Check)

Basically, what DOESN'T he have??  I try to stay positive, I really do.  But this Transition to 3 crap SUCKS.  It's freaking emotionally draining to be one of the few parents sitting in a room who has to ask a million extra questions because my child hit the lottery for disabling conditions. 

The presenter is going on about how their goal as an education agency is to get the kids in and out of special ed.  Help them meet their goals and close those gaps and get into the mainstream classroom.  Except, that's not going to happen for Ryan.  And this whole meeting is just making me face that reality head on and my brain and my heart weren't emotionally prepared for that at this moment in time.  I have enough of a challenge trying to keep it together every year on his birthday so as to not dwell on the PTSD-inducing experience that was his birth.  I've held his first two birthday parties in July because his actual birthday in March brought about more tears than joy in my memories.  I blamed it on the flu season timing, but the reality was, I didn't think I could handle it for my own selfish reasons.

So now, here we are.  My baby is turning 3 and starting some sort of preschool.  He'll be evaluated 3 times over the next few weeks and we'll have his first IEP in March right before his birthday.  We'll set some goals for him, figure out the best and safest placement for him for a school site, and he'll be on his way.  And I can't even begin to wrap my brain around it all.

On the drive home, I heard that song "Give me a Reason" by Pink on the radio and do you guys do this?  Whenever I hear a duet I always picture myself singing the girl part and usually Mr. Spray Pal singing the guy part.  Only with this song, today, I was singing with Ryan.  And it was SO fitting in my head! Probably because I thought the line said, "We're not broken, just better" but when I looked up the lyrics after I got home I found out it's actually bent, lol.  So, me it was amazing.  I was singing with Ryan:

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit's enough
Just a second we're not broken just better
We can learn to love again.
It's in the stars
It's been written in the scars on our hearts
We're not broken just better
We can learn to love again.

(I think Pink should take note, this song is AWESOME with my adapted lyrics!  ;) )

And for some reason only God knows, that song struck a chord in my heart and made me realize somehow this was going to be ok.  Ryan's not broken.  And he really is better than so many of us.  He is innocent and sweet and happy.  He never throws a tantrum, he never talks back, he never feels like his life is lacking anything.  In his mind, he's not broken.  He's just him.  And he is loved.  And he's just better.


  1. LOVE this post! And so many times have had the same feelings as you.. He's not broken, he's best! :) xo love you guys!

  2. So many of us have gone before you and can relate in so many ways. Sending so many hugs your way. Know that Ryan is so inspiring to us.

  3. This is so beautifully written. You are such a strong and amazing person and so is Ryan.

  4. Ryan is such a precious little guy. He has come so far in his 3 year journey. You and Dave are very special, loving and dedicated parents.

  5. Beautifully written about a beautiful boy <3

  6. Sending love & healing thoughts your way. This meeting must have been so difficult for you. You & Ryan are blessed to have one another. (Do you follow Lisa Leonard? She chronicles her journey with her disabled son, David, beautifully.