First week of school ended with Nick’s teacher calling. She just wanted to answer any questions I might have, talk about a few things and see how I thought Nick was doing. I had e-mailed her earlier in the week with some concerns and she replied quickly and was pretty reassuring so I didn’t expect a call.
The call was a great surprise. I am really liking this teacher. She told me Nicholas asked her if he could do a presentation for the class about his leg. Hearing that made me so happy because to me, that means Nick is getting more comfortable. He did not like talking about his leg on the first day on the bus. Later I helped him come up with short answers to end a conversation when he doesn’t want to have one. The presentation will head off a lot of conversations within the class at least.
Since Nicholas just did this for camp in July, I know he will have a good idea of what he wants to say. I was so proud when he did it at camp. He didn’t even get frazzled when a kid kept interrupting him to say “that’s gross”. Nick would just say “no, no it’s not gross” and get right back to his original thought. I don’t imagine anything like that happening in class but I believe he can handle it if it does.
Believing he can handle it, helping him from behind the scenes but having no control is part of letting go. Letting go is so hard, in so many ways, for so many reasons. For me fibular hemimelia is a big one. I know I have the same instinct most moms do to protect my kids, keep them from harm and be there to help them through the inevitable hardships of life. The thing is, this year I have really realized that I can’t be there for everything. I can’t stop painful situations. I can’t control their little worlds, but I can help them handle what happens. And thats really what I am supposed to be doing. I can’t be there for everything and that’s ok.
Instead I can be around to comfort or help them think of solutions (and offer some) to the hard or painful things that happen. I can help them find ways to stay calm when anxious. I can seek help from others when I think someone else’s input might be even more powerful than mine. That’s part of what I learned this summer about the influence of others. Between camp and swimming I really realized the positive impact others can have on my kids.
I do believe the biggest part of my decision to home school was to shelter them. No doubt about it. I might have offered up others but in my heart that was it. I realize now that in thinking I was sheltering them from harm I was also sheltering them from the influence of others, which can be phenomenal. I know that my reasons for homeschooling and my experience in doing so is not something that should be generalized. I am not criticizing the practice of homeschooling but for new families considering it I would suggest really looking at why you want to do it and if you seem at all like me, reconsider.
I feel like a weight has been taken off of me. It really has in some ways. I know I will still stress about school and it won’t all go well and there will be really hard situations. Still I am confident I can help the kids best in my role as mommy who is their safe place to bring worries and troubles rather than mommy who is with us 24/7 and tries to keep the world of worries away.
I began my journey as a mom thinking that if I gave Nicholas all the love and support I could then he would be able to handle having fibular hemimelia. By giving him the most solid foundation possible he would be able to take what the world would dish out. I knew I would have to let go some day and he would need to navigate the world without me. I feel like I have finally generalized this lesson into my parenting beyond fh. It was the ah-ha staring me straight in the face.
I posted some concerns about Nicks class placement on Facebook and I received so much great advice and support but here is part of my favorite comment “remember, if we are really doing our job we’re making ourselves obsolete.” There it is again. I’ve heard it before in the form of “working ourselves out of a job”. The lesson in letting go. For me this school thing is a big step and so far I think it is the right one.