Friday, April 8, 2011

Permission to Parent?

In this day and age of freedom we pride ourselves on the choices that we have. To dress, to eat, speak, practice religion (or the choice not to). We revel in the fact that "Nobody can tell me what to do."
Or do we?
With all sorts of magazines, self help books, and "inspirational" speakers it seems that what we are searching for most is Permission. We want the validation that we are doing things "right". One of the most sought after topics is that of parenting. There are scores of literature, people and well meaning family members who are there to tell you how it should be done.
While drawing on resources is VERY helpful there is a very important place one should always look.
In your heart.
The heart and soul never lie.

Our first year in Florida was difficult as far as school went. I had spent the past 3 years being "schooled" in how inept I was. To clarify, Jakob was declared to have sensory processing difficulties which is considered part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was surrounded by a fabulous staff of people who guided my child in ways I could have never imagined. He began to speak, the tantrums were less frequent, and toilet training finally ensued. I never imagined in a million years that in 2 1/2 years of therapists, getting married, changing homes and therapists and new schools that we just were "lucky" to have the constant support and well meaning people in our lives.
Until we left the state.
I learned quickly that the norm was not focusing on the individual but that kids with an IEP need to "take a number and get in line".
After years of surrendering to those who knew best I now found myself in the position where I truly did not think that those that held that role were able to provide the best for my child.
But what was the alternative?
I was clearly unwanted in the classroom, my opinion, concerns, and requests were ignored, and worst of all I saw my son retreat daily back into "that place" we had spent so much effort pulling him from.
I couldn't afford private school, tutoring, or pay for extra therapy. Plus Jakob was exhausted by the time he left school, there was no way he could last through therapy.
And there was NO WAY I was going to homeschool.
That was for *those* people. The ones who kept their kids in the closet all pasty white and memorizing the entire Bible by age 3.

Everyday I cried at the situations, my choices, my distrust of myself and what I was allowing to happen.
Truly out of desperation, we decided to put Jakob into a Jujitsu class after school to satisfy sensory needs that were not being met otherwise.
He immediately took up with one of the kids there and I began a conversation with his mom.
This woman was happy, sure of herself and her children, a true joy to be around. We could talk about things and although she was on a level of "green" I never imagined being, we enjoyed talking with one another about the goings on of life, the kids progress in the class, and how stinkin cute her daughter was.
Finally I had to ask.
"Where do your kids go to school?"
"Where ever."
"We sort of home school."
"How do you *sort-of* home school?"
"Umm well they don't go to school so we sort-of homeschool."

Long story short she completely dispelled all my previous notions and fears of homeschooling, invited me into her home to just see "we aren't THAT strange." I felt like a student at the feet of a master and all this new found knowledge and empowerment ultimately led to our decision to pull Jakob from school.
It has been the biggest blessing I could have given him.
Before we left Florida I tried unsuccessfully to tell this woman what she has meant to me and my family, how happy I was to have met her and how she changed our life.
To that she responded,

"I did nothing but give you permission to be the Momma you needed to be for your kids."

Permission. It is truly what we search for. The validation that in your heart you know whats best. Sometimes that goes with the flow. Sometimes against. Sometimes it leads you across a desert.
But with that permission you can change the world.

So, Permission to Follow your heart?
Permission Granted.

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