The only thing Zach has come to expect is that we are going to throw a lot of people and experiences at him, and that most of the time we will be there to help him figure it out. Now, Zach is only 3. As he matures the tantrums may evolve. They may not. Right now I am working on the theory that the more we expose him to in life (much like a NT child) the better he will be at handling all the variety life has to offer.
So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that for my birthday this year, especially considering it is a bit of a milestone, that I would have a fundraiser party for our local FEAT group. Yes, I like chaos. I can barely get a shower in each day, and I am going to have people over to my house and try to get them to fork out some cash? Maybe they will take pity on us, think that all families with kids on the spectrum are as big of a mess as us, and dole out the Benjamins. Or more likely, they will shake their heads at the crazy tall lady with the cute kids, throw a few bucks in the till, and say: "At least she serves some good wine."
This week was a doozy. It was a typical running all over, getting ears checked, going to the chiropractor, schools, therapy, new private therapist added, tweeking the diet, advocacy work, homework, but also trying to clean the house for guests, decorate my barren walls so it doesn't look like we live in a cold war Soviet prison, menu planning sort of week.
Then there was the phone call on Wednesday. Here is my post on facebook, where I am obviously a little frantic:
Just got a call from school - there was some sort of accident on Sophia's bus, she fell out the emergency door on the bus... not sure if what was moving ... they say she is OK - off to school to find out... prayers please.....
No phone call from school when you are expecting your child home any minute is good, even when it starts with a: "this is [principal D] from [child's school] and first thing you should know is [insert child's name] is OK. "
I still have yet to receive the report, but this is what we know happened: Sophia was riding in the bus, sitting with two other friends in one seat, that was located in the exit row on the bus. While dropping a child off at a bus stop, the door unexpectedly opened, Sophia fell backwards out of the bus into the road, landing on her back thankfully where her backpack was. Sophia's teacher just happened to be behind the bus in her vehicle and ran up to Sophia. She got back on the bus, and was brave. She was taken back to the school, where I picked her up.
She appeared OK, and was shaken up for a few hours after the incident. I could not get in touch with dear husband (under my breath grumble grumble) so off I went to pick up Zach from school. While en route to Zach, we intermingled a trip to McDonalds to get a Happy Meal where she then appeared to return to her happy, joyous self. Zach's therapist came to babysit, while I took Sophia to get her checked out at the doctors. He did an exam and ran a test to check kidney function, and we were off home. A phone call to a niece to come and hang with Sophia while she napped (and I insited she periodically check her breathing), and I was off to take Zach to the next doctor's appointment. That evening, phone calls came in from school people, but not from the doctor which meant the lab work came back fine. Later, I collapsed into sleep.
Facebook is a great tool. People inquired about Sophia, and a childhood friend who now sits on the board at our school provided me with what she heard:
The way I heard it was her backpack got caught on the exit door handle and when the poor thing moved, it opened the door. It's amazing she didn't get hurt & that the bus was stopped! Her Guardian Angel was looking over her!! The bus driver said Sophia is such a resilient, couragous & tough little girl as she bounced right up... , walked to the front of the bus & got back on!!!! Again, amazing!! In no way would I belittle this incident, but just want to reassure people that the buses' back doors aren't spontaneously opening up. My son rides the bus to/from school everyday and I often wondered why parents would fuss about having their children seatbelted as I would prefer my to be!!I responded (in my soapboxy preachy sort of way):
While that makes sense about the backpack, it's conjecture, no one really knows. Sophia said she didn't feel her backpack catch on the door/handle. For the record it was a side door of the bus. From what I heard, those buzzers should have been going off like crazy at the mere touch of the handle, so I am surprised it all could have happened that fast that it would make the buzzer go off, the door fly open, and she fell out. I am not saying that didn't happen, just not sure. For now - I think just like on an airplane, younger children should not sit in exit rows and I feel this should be policy. Also wondering about the 3 kids in one seat thing. I am still looking into seatbelt usage and if there have been any studies done on this. Risk mitigation is what I would like to see - the probability of certain types of accidents weighted against if seatbelts would help or hinder. There have been two ejections from buses in the past year at East Hill alone - want to make sure there won't be a 3rd. The number one thing we owe our kids is their safety - if danger is so easily preventable, let's prevent it!This gracious lady said she would let the board know. And there you have it - a great reason to be on facebook.
Would you mind letting the rest of the board know my thoughts? If I didn't speak up and let them know, and something else were to ever happen, I would feel just terrible.
I will be 40 in one week's time. One of Zach's therapists hit this milestone just a little ahead of me this past November. According to her, she took it a little hard. Her comment to me: "I'm just not where I thought I would be".
She likely had no idea what impact this would have on me. With a masters degree in hand, many years of experience as an engineer; my health; my intelligent, humble, supportive husband; my beautiful family; and mostly my drive and desires; I can honestly say that at no time ever did I ever think that I would be a stay at home mom in the hometown I grew up in. I was the kid who wanted to change the world, then as I grew up, I wanted to charge the corporate ladder. Then I just wanted to be good at what I did, and then when I couldn't do that, I just wanted to take care of my business. As I look back, each time my universe shrunk from the world, all the way down to my family. I am certainly no where near where I ever thought I would be. I know my life sounds mundane to those fast trackers out there. I also know that taking care of my family is one of my core values that I will never be able to shake. I approach it with the zealousness as I did my first job. Actually, with even more charge. I also know to laugh, or not get too rattled, when things don't quite turn out the way I thought, which is almost always!
This party sort of feels like being able to attend your own funeral. Hopefully, I will get to see those who care show up and toast to my life, and there is a charitable organziation who will get a little in the kitty. [OK - as for the booze - yeah - we drink at funerals in this family, and at weddings, Christmas, and at 2 year old Zach's birthday party.] So yeah - like a funeral. The only difference is there is no grand prize for the husband in the form of a life insurance policy nor the freedom to go out and date the 25 year old cutie in the office. (sorry Steve)
Like many people, I want to make a difference. Change the world? Well, maybe a little piece of it. My birthday party with it's small philanthropic backdrop really does summarize what I am trying to do in this world. It's not grand, it's not Earth shaking, but it may help another out. I am 40 - and hopefully have a lot of years in me left to continue this. Maybe something small in size now, can grow to be something more, maybe not. There is so much out there to be done. I look forward to meeting its challenges. I am (kind of) smart, I care, and I am a persistent little bugger -I can make a difference. I thank God that Hilary made that remark to me a few months ago. I realize I may not be where I thought I would be either, I didn't accomplish what I thought I would, not living where I thought I would, not inventing what I thought I would, but I am doing just what I should be.
10 came with an excitement of what I would be one day, at the time I wanted to be a violin teacher.
20 came with a depression that I was likely not to be a filthy rich super model with men hanging out just to shine my shoes nor was I going to be the magna/summa anything at graduation.
30 came with perplexity - lost Dad just prior, but I had a good job, a few suitors, and was not worrying about my hair and makeup nearly as much.
40 comes with the realization that there is a whole world out there that doesn't need people to climb or take charge, what it needs is people to care and to act.