First, I quit a job that I had absolutely loved. Until six months ago, I never imagined leaving that position. I was happy there and knew I did good work. It's funny how life can turn things on its head so quickly, and how isolating those experiences can be. By the time I quit my job, I had come to the conclusion that it truly would be best for me and my family if I were to resign. It was not something I ever imagined I would do, but here I was, doing it.
Then we moved across the country. Fourteen hundred miles, to be closer to my family. Well, we're close all right. We're currently living with my parents. So far that's going okay. There's kinks that have to be worked out, but so far it's been livable. Definitely better than what we left behind, anyway.
Out of fear of having to COBRA our insurance, I accepted a position with a company I had worked with previously. I started that position last week and found that things have changed a LOT in the last ten years, both for the company and for me. During our first day of orientation, after child abuse prevention training, several of my new coworkers got into a discussion about how hilarious it was to beat their own children, and as long as they don't leave marks, it's okay and funny. Many went on to describe how they hit their kids, to the cackles of one another. Anyone who knows me can imagine how disgusted I was by the end of that day. One of my children has special needs, and the children in this program were there because they were considered "at-risk" due to a variety of circumstances. THESE children are the most challenging, and if you routinely can't come up with anything better for your average child than to "beat" them, how in the world will you handle a child at-risk--or a child like mine, who's more challenging? Needless to say, my time at the job ended that same day.
So I'm still looking for a job. My kids are going to be enrolled in the public school system shortly, and school starts in two weeks. We received standardized testing scores on my youngest child, and she scored advanced in nearly every category, showing a particular penchant for math and science. She'll fit in well here, because those are the areas this school system pushes tremendously.
My son is still homesick. He's thirteen, probably one of the harder ages to move anyway, and is struggling with ADHD and depression. His ADHD is more noticeable some days, as he has trouble controlling his impulses and making good choices. No amount of talking seems to help sometimes, and the frustration of seeing your child make the same mistakes repeatedly is hard. My husband and my parents have been tremendously helpful in trying to provide consistency and appropriate consequences when needed.
I do believe my son has a variety of diagnoses that work together to make life more difficult for him. But ADHD seems to be the one that is most in our face these days, the one that never lets go and makes our lives difficult. His boundless energy is hard to harness. His inability to calm down after exciting experiences makes it hard to take him places. His naiviety and immaturity, mixed with the average thirteen-year old attitude of knowing it all is a constant concern to me. When I hear him talk as though he knows it all and dismisses what we say, I actually rejoice in thinking he's acting like a typical kid his age! But his inability to discern realistic scenarios from unrealistic ones concerns me. He believes most anything other kids tell him.
One of my biggest challenges personally this summer has been trying to move away from thinking in diagnostic terms when it comes to this child, and to look at him as a person, and deal with the behaviors that come our way appropriately. I'm extremely analytical and want to compartmentalize his behavior. His inability to discern reality from fantasy, for instance, could be due to fetal alcohol syndrome. His constant movement, ADHD. His up and down mood swings, bipolar disorder. All of these disorders, along with many others, have been tossed around and even listed as positive diagnoses for him. But none of it changes the fact that at the end of the day, he's not a multitude of diagnoses--he's a thirteen year old boy, who's been moved away from his world, and is struggling to make a new world work for him.
Moving is hard. Last week I spent the majority of the week in heartbreak, crying off and on, over leaving the job I had loved. You see, last week I would have gone back to work, to the same pattern of things that I had done for the last ten years. Things I knew and loved to do. But instead I didn't...instead I found myself in a new teacher orientation with unsavory people who think it's funny to hit their own children.
Any move is going to have missteps. I keep my fingers crossed and say my prayers that we have fewer missteps and more finding our way. In the end, I believe in my heart and soul this was the right path for us...and I hope in the end, my son will too.