I Need an Easy Button

This is going down in history as one of the most emotionally exhausting weeks of my life.  The only thing I can come up with off the top of my head that immediately trumps it is the week Gabe was in the Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital.  So, yeah, this has been a long week.

Let’s start last Friday, where I sat through a three hour meeting going over the results from the 15 or so assessments that Gabriel had through the school district over the summer.  No ‘shocking’ news, nothing we weren’t actually aware of, but let me tell you that watching page, after page, after PAGE of testing results showing him at the LESS than first percentile in virtually everything (he scored 1.5 – 2.0 deviations below average on EVERY.THING.) is a version of heart wrenching insanity that encompasses your very being.  Add sitting there with the (soon-to-be) ex-husband, and the feeling is like submerging yourself in a bathtub of cold water right before dropping the hairdryer in.  Electrifyingly terrible.

And that was just Friday.  Keep reading, it just keeps going.

The weekend was a mix of frantic shopping, including a 30 minute wait to get our feet measured just to find out the store didn’t have the boys’ shoe sizes in stock, and then having to explain to the clerk that Matthew really wasn’t interested in the *other* shoes she has, because he would ONLY wear the Commander Cody light up Star Wars shoes that he picked out.  Only.  It also included a giant angry growling/screaming fit that Gabriel started in Gap Kids that forced me escort all three of them, like wild cats in a mouse trap, out of the shop, and directly out of the mall.  Which sounds like an awesome solution, if you don’t take into consideration that Matthew spied some ridiculously expensive toy store on the way in (with an Angry Birds display no less), and was INSISTING that we were shopping which meant to him: New Legos.  Which I refused to buy.  Clearly he wasn't happy.  And frankly, neither was I.

So, change of plans.  After dropping the boys off at McDonald’s with my parents, I rushed to Old Navy and did the shopping without them.  At least they have new (and clean!) clothes to wear.

That day was followed by Monday where I scoured every nook and cranny of Target, two Fred Meyers and The Rack looking for a suitable backpack for Matt, while coming up empty, and stocking up on socks and other such nonsense like tissues, baby wipes and Ziploc bags which are apparently ‘school supplies’ now. 

Tuesday arrived, and the (soon-to-be) ex-husband and I went on our way to the next half of the IEP meeting, at 1pm (21 hours before school began), only to find out that all of the challenges he has does not make the district able to place him into the private school we have had him in for the last year and half….no, actually the evaluations are SO BAD he can’t attend a school without the services that he needs (Speech, OT, etc.), so at the 11th hour we are forced to decide what to do about his placement for the next morning.

Did I mention I am crying?

I’m so exhausted emotionally in this meeting that I just wind up taking a copy of the IEP and leaving.  With the (soon-to-be) ex-husband alongside me.  Who I debrief on the way home about the finer points of the meeting he may have missed (like the school’s legal obligation to provide these services to our son means that we too have the legal obligation to provide them, and if we do place him at our cost in the private school, we would have to figure out how to manage getting him private services which basically just equals NOT GONNA HAPPEN).  We get back to my house, I run in, start the little boys in showers and getting dressed because we have less than 30 minutes to leave for their teacher meet and greet.

The (soon-to-be) ex-husband goes back to work.

I get everyone ready, head to a non-air-conditioned building full of thousands of people, walk into Matthew’s classroom to find 50 kids and their parents all wandering around one of the most visually distracting rooms I have ever been in.  And Gabe starts to lose it.  And I start to lose it.

My head is spinning in circles about everything I have just learned and my need to make a decision as the clock is quickly marching towards end of business, and although I could just make the decision the next day, Gabriel thinks he is starting school in the morning and if he is not going to the private school – I can’t let him start there.  More head spinning.

I grab Matt’s paperwork after introducing myself to his teacher, and march all four of us out of the inferno-like heat of the chaotic classroom, down the hall, and into Nick’s classroom.  Same issues there – less people – but Gabe is trying to micromanage Matthew, and I can’t focus on anything.  Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Quick introductions fill out the bus vs. parent pick up paperwork (say that three times fast!) and we head through the doorway, as I adeptly steer the boys away from the neon-red popsicles being offered in the courtyard, and straight for the van.  Parked three blocks away.  As I am attempting to exhale in the scorching heat (that waited for September to arrive here in the northwest), Matthew runs out into the street in front of a construction truck and scream his name louder than anyone person should ever yell.  But he stops.  And I breathe again.

And we drive home. 

Where I open a bottle of wine, and pour myself a glass.  I’ve earned it.

Refocus.  I have only once choice.  Gabriel goes back to public school.

I call the head of special services, have an amazing conversation with her (really) and leave the conversation feeling like although I’ve probably sold my soul to the devil, I will hopefully get forgiveness.  

I move onto the part that I am most worried about – I have to tell Gabe.  It is around 14 hours before school starts, and I tell Gabe I need to talk with him.  I break the news about the school change and the fact that he will not be going to school in the morning and not going back to the private school….

Surprisingly, he’s happy.  That’s a win.  Why?  Two words:  HOT LUNCH.  He’s a simple child.

Once everyone is in bed, I sort supplies (yep, that didn’t happen before we left for teacher meet and greet, I’m clearly winning the mom of the year award this school year), and layout clothing and then call it a night and sleep. 

The first day of school…

That’s gonna have to wait for another day.  lol


Alysia said...

Oh Hartley ...I can't even imaginethestress you're under right now. The school stuff would be enough to cause anyone to ask for the easy button, add in the personal stuff and I'm ready to whisk you away for a long while. You are one of the fiercest advocates for your children and I know it will all pay off. Doesn't make it any better right now. Thinking of you every day

Yvette said...

Hartley...any one of those events would have sent me down the emotional drain. I'm so sorry about Gabriel's sudden school switch, but so glad he didn't seem to mind! Praying things settle down marvelously very soon and everyone's needs are met...including yours!

Tired Mom said...

Good Lord! And I thought my head was spinning with all my appts, IEP meetings, etc... Girl, all I can say is you are simply AMAZING! More power to you and GOOD LUCK with the school situation! Hang in there, and keep the wine handy ;)

Caitlin Wray said...

Hartley, you are supermom - but right now you need to give yourself permission to do whatever you have to, in order to focus on your top priorities, day by day. This is really more change than anyone can be expected to handle - so be sure to do what you need to in order to get through this. Wish I was closer xxoo

Ellie said...

Wow, you have so much on your plate right now! Follow the advice you've always given to us, and don't forget to breath and take care of yourself too...your kids need you to be healthy and sane as much as they need you to fight for them and love on them! Praying for life to get easier for you soon!

Let Kids Play said...

Caring and thinking about you from a far. Our lives are a roller coaster, hopefully yours will slow down soon.

Magnificent Minds said...

Hang in there. This too shall pass :)

Stacy said...

I love this post. Add in the "I'm There" sign, and I think it fits me too! You've captured reality and managed to express yourself with a little bit of humor as well. Last year, these days made me cry. This year, I'm finding a little bit of room to laugh at myself. I had an insane shoe shopping day last week at Walmart...4 kids, one going berserk, the other 3 fighting in the store. Yep. I'm There. And I need an Easy Button too! Hugs Hartley!!!!

Gina @ Special Happens said...

Hartley....those days...those string of days can ruin a person. I understand that. I think of what's going on in our family now, I look at others in our community, I read this and I can't help but wonder why we're all having to go through such a tough time right now.

I am glad to hear that Gabe took that well...who knew we'd be so thankful for hot lunches. The way he reacted prevented a horrible week from turning into a complete disaster.

Martianne said...

Oh my! If I could hug you, I would. If I could nominate you for Awesome Mom and Stellar Sharer-- I would. If I had extra money and could hire you a personal assistant to shop for your family and sort school supplies, I would.

I do not know how you are coping with so much change and so many obstacles to navigate. But, you are. You must be showered with grace and strength even as you wish for a well-deserved Calgon moment.

Sending HUGE amounts of praise for just getting through the week you had, ample strength for all the transitions yet to come and many, many prayers for simple relief when you and your boys need it most!

Becky said...

I do not think anyone can understand the stress unless they have walked a mile in the shoes. Truly.

Keep your chin up (((Hartley))). These days shall pass. I promise. <3

Heather said...

hugs. that's all I've got. hugs.

Claudia M. said...

been there, but less gracefully than you. you rock