song du jour:Unsquaredance, Dave Brubeck

mood: relatively peachy

Radical (Dude)

The Mom: "If you want to spend Wednesday with Skyler, how about picking him up after his art class?

The Gran: "Ok, that way you could have even longer to work."

The Mom: "Yeah...or...well...we could do something freakish and wild while he's there."

The Gran: "Like what?!?"

The Mom: "Are you sitting down?"

The Gran: "Yeah (?)"

The Mom: "We could have lunch...just us."

The Gran: "Nnnnnnnn-oooo! Really?!? You mean just us? You mean we could have a conversation without a cute little wild thing hogging all the attention and interrupting every 2 seconds?!? Is that legal?"

The Mom: "I know. It's completely radical, but I'm having a wild week. I painted my toenails metallic cobalt. I needed to do something in keeping with my current lack of conventionality"

The Gran: "I see what you mean."

In keeping with the recent retro visits in my social life, I had a wild and crazy lunch date...with my mom. Now, it's not like we've been estranged. In fact, we see each other 2 or 3 times a week, always in conjunction with pick ups, drop offs, stolen conversations while Sky bounces off the walls in another room, or the occasional family dinners, but lunch? Just her and me? Not since I was pregnant. We've met for dinner twice. We're averaging every 3 years. At the rate we're going, only 2 more dinners until Skyler will be old enough to stay by himself. We went to my favorite Thai restaurant, which I think I've only been to once since Skyler was born. It was short. A bit too short, and, of course, we spent most of the time talking about what else, but Skyler. It's questionable whether his behavior at art class was adequate enough for him to be allowed back next week, but we have hope of doing it again one day. Sheesh, when you're kid's in danger of being expelled from classes for homeschooled kids, you know he's a handful.

Back in August, I sank into one of my frustrated can't do it all alone moods just before my grandmother passed away and finally looked in the right places for some help. I was talking with the former executive director at Spruill, the center where I teach in Atlanta, and for some reason, when she asked about Skyler, I gave an honest answer about how burnt out I was getting rather than my usual, "fine." Although we go way back, our conversations tend to be more professional and in the realm of art and art education rather than personal. It was a good moment to suddenly blab about my frustration in not finding enough support and opportunities for homeschoolers.

It turns out her daughter homeschools her 2 daughters, one of whom has significant health issues to manage. Her daughter hooked me up and gave me the lowdown so I could quite wasting time in fruitless and clueless google searches. I got on 3 lists, found 2 promising organizations (loose and laid back), and several sites for resources. I hooked up with one delightful and creative mom nearby, who told me about the place where Sky is taking (hopefully still taking!) art classes. Support and resources I knew were there but couldn't quite find, and none of it freakishly religiously based.

I did another wild thing that same evening. I finally gave up and contacted Parent to Parent, and organization dedicated to supporting parent of kids with special needs. One of the reasons I took so long to contact them was that I was convinced I wouldn't find someone who would relate to my experiences. Skyler's way of coping with his hearing loss has puzzled, stumped, and amused more than one healthcare professional. I told myself (stupidly) that I'd end up talking with people who would think I was lucky to have a child with no speech problems and only mild/moderate. And yes, you're right. I was totally projecting, although, in my defense, I haven't found a plethora of people who have been in my shoes. People tend to regard me as 100% unique, which for an artist is fine, but for a mom it's pretty damned lonely.

I was matched with a parent, who has a child with similar issues, and with all the drama, all the trips to Chattanooga, and the difficulty of finding daylight hours to call when Skyler can't overhear my exasperation and complaining on the phone, I only managed to make the call today. Yes, I do wish I'd done it 6 months ago. I couldn't believe how much it was like talking to myself on the phone. I was alone and calm, but the wonderful generous woman on the other end said, as her eldest interrupted for the 3rd time, her 2 month old fell asleep while breastfeeding (which she was doing walking around the house and talking to me), her son was asking questions, and the alarm repair man had just arrived, "I'm sorry. You must think I'm really scattered." "No, actually, I was thinking you sound just like me."

She strongly recommenced a book that I'm desperately trying to track down (hint hint, Jean) called, Not Deaf Enough: Raising a child who is hard of hearing with hugs, humor and imagination by Patricia Ann Morgan Candlish, BA MLS. (Despite all ordering info, it's out of print.) It was a 45 minute conversation of bliss, with much laughter and a few tears. We have a play date on Monday. It will be the first time Skyler has met another child who wears a 'magic ear.' (I know, you'd think with all those trips to the audiologist...but Skyler only knows grownups, who wear hearing aids.) We moms will get to talk more, and I have no doubt it will be enlightening. I've already had a HUGE giant piece of the puzzle fall into place from her insights.

More on that when it's not 3 am. I'm trying to learn it's ok to sleep once in a while. Nighty night. :-)

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