I am sitting here at the café at Barnes & Nobel watching the milk man deliver crate after crate of milk.
Today is the other day during the week when I have a couple hours to myself. Again, I feel sane for a few moments. Well, that's not fair. It's not that I feel un-sane the other times, it's just that in these brief moments I feel like I incorporate my own mind and body much more fully.
There's something about this spot that I like. For one, it's a book store and...I love books. It's that simple. I feel good whenever I am in a bookstore or library--like I am among my people. Those in the place and inside the books. I like writing in a café. It's so much less lonely. Reminds me of writing my thesis in the "olden days" in the science lab in college before I ever had my own computer, much less wireless.
I like this spot. I have a window seat and can see Georgia's school across the way. I like knowing that while I sit here independent, she is in there having fun and learning things. She likes this school a lot. She likes it more than public school it seems. She asks for it by name whenever we get up in the morning. It's a shame she only gets to go to that school four days a week and follows the university schedule (meaning she will have the same month + long holiday as the college kids). The fact that she likes this smaller more structured school so much more makes me question myself about the path we are on to include her in the public school.
It doesn't sway me completely. After all, it's not like we even have an option LIKE this one for the rest of her schooling career. But it frustrates and worries me. I was far from impressed with the self-contained options I have visited. Georgia copies the people around her and the classroom I saw housed a lot of kids who had blatant behaviors I don't want Georgia picking up.
This is not meant to be an attack on those kids. If each of those children was blended in with the gen. ed. pop. at school, they...well...honestly, I can't muster the energy to formulate this argument. I am just so sick of thinking about it day in and day out, year after year. The bottom line is I think the education system in the US has a lot to be desired. For all of our children.
In the background I hear the milk man ask the barista, "How ya' doin' today, Sunshine? Overworked and underpaid?"
"Good," she giggles.
"How's the coffee? I hope it's fresh."
I have so many thoughts about the day to day life I am leading that it feels too overwheming to attempt to write them down. So very many thoughts about school and the path we are on for Georgia (and also, Rainer, but the path seems so much more bumpy for Georgia right now), that I can't even seem to begin to record them.
I am thinking because I feel so scattered about it all that I shouldn't. I don't think I should write about this stuff here. I need time and space and distance. I need to just live this. Suss it out and feel like I can change my mind about things one million times without worrying that I sound ridiculous.
Yesterday, when I was getting Georgia out of the van, while balancing our oversized rainbow umbrella between my shoulder and chin, I realized as the cuffs of my pants got wet in the rivulets of rain water that were running along the curb, that as a mother, I find I am often--almost always--looking out for the kids over my self. This isn't a complaint. I do it out of love and protection for them. I knew that if Georgia went into her afternoon classroom wet herself, that she would be uncomfortable. I knew if she was uncomfortable she would show it in her behavior. If she behaved unpleasantly, the teachers might misunderstand, or she wouldn't get her work done, or she wouldn't concentrate, or she'd hit a kid. She could complain or be sullen.
Heck, for all I know, being wet might liven her up. Make her super talkative in an effort to stay warm or distract herself, but likely, she'd just be unhappy.
So I got wet to make sure she stayed dry.
I do think it is important for a mother take care of her own needs as well. But in a situation like that, when it's me or the kids, I choose the kids.
I have a character flaw. It's one I suspect many of us have, but I have it bad and I conversely want, badly, to break the habit.
I believe in manners. I think it's important to be nice.
My problem is I want people to like me. To that end, I find it really difficult sometimes to fight for Georgia in the education arena. I do it, but it doesn't come naturally. I get tongue-tied and I lose my train of thought. Whole sentences vanish from my brain. I am uneasy and flustered. I have to hold back my tears.
I can occasionally put on a good act. Say the things I rehearsed beforehand--and even the things I haven't. But it's draining.
I have a good friend who is a spitfire. She is smart and intelligent and witty and tough. While I am good with words on the page, she is good with words in person. She likes to say that together we are a dynamic duo, and I tend to agree, though she is far more educated and natural with this stuff.
It is my good fortune that she also has a daughter with Down syndrome, goes to my church, is a special educator, and she believes in Georgia. She has even been Georgia's teacher in religious education classes at our church, so she has a picture of her few, myself included, do. I turn to her for support often. (Yes, even the "Go to the bar and drink beer with me" kind.)
I often say something along the lines of "I hope I don't get my ass served to me on a platter" to her in reference to my worrying about confronting various situations that arise on this inclusion journey.
This morning I texted her and said as such. She replied, "It's not your ass that matters right now. It's G's."
It's not the cuffs of my pants or my ass that matter right now.
It's the life I have chosen and though it's not always easy, I know it's right. I don't think I will ever cease being amazed by what it means, by what it takes, to be a mother.