“I am a parent advocate. I have been my son’s advocate for the past twenty-two years, and an educational advocate assisting other parents for almost a decade. I know what it is to sit in an IEP team meeting as both the intimidated parent and as the educational advocate supporting other parents. I have seen parents overwhelmed in a meeting laden with the special education acronyms, rules, regulations, and negotiations that lead to the development of their child’s IEP. In my several decades of on-the-job-training, or “combat duty,” I have come to believe that reading an IEP is nothing short of having to learn and master a foreign language. But it can, and must be done.” -- Marcie Lipsitt, NCLD Parent Leader, excerpt from Why and How to Read Your Child’s IEP .
I have often wondered why God would allow us to go through the whole sha-bang of becoming career missionaries only to bring us home. It’s not something you just “do”, ya know. We had to have the right degrees. And then the right amount of experience. We had to be “approved” by an organization that is accepted into the country. Then we spent two years on the road fund-raising. Tobin was 2 when that journey started. You can imagine the fun times we had. Wink wink. 8 years, it took from concept to fully having raised enough mulah and get there. Not just ourselves either. We shipped a container filled with our earthly possessions too. Eight years didn’t seem like a sacrifice because we were planning to be there forever. Then we spent two years acclimating to the culture and learning the language. Come home to have baby number three on doctor’s orders – I have tricky pregnancies. Never ever dreaming we wouldn’t return. Of course I’ve asked why…
Have you ever learned a foreign language?
For the first year and a half I thought my head was going to explode!
At that point in time, it was easily the single most difficult thing I had ever done.
And you know what stinks too?
I was pretty darn good at the Swahili thing. By two years in both Jonathan and I could easily communicate (probably at a elementary school child level) everywhere we went. We translated for church groups that came to visit us in The Bush. I bought fruits and veggies using only Swahili. We spoke it everywhere for everything. Ha. That reminds me about the time Jonathan got pulled over by the screaming cop. One of the first things you learn is to say “I’m just a visitor! It was a mistake!” to get yourself out of any cultural binds. Evidently, you’re not supposed to say it like you were born and raised in the country! Our claims to be “wageni” only further infuriated the cop who was screaming his head off for us to open the door and something about our Swahili being too good to be visitors!
So I’ll randomly think, “if I had known we weren’t going back…I would NOT have invested all that time and energy into learning to speak the stinking language!” Depending on how cranky-pants I’m feeling I might even add, “such a waste of brain energy!”
And really so do I. Because nothing makes me feel more swag than Swahili chatting with The Hubs in public.
Also, if you scroll back up to the top and re-read the line in bold. Maybe that’s why? Maybe Trevy needs me to know I can do foreign language. Maybe I need to know I can do hard stuff. Stuff that makes my head feel like it’s going to explode.