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Did You Know You Could Write a Rant and Make it Segue Into Special Needs Ryan? Me Neither.

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Hi everyone, I’m back.


You thought maybe I was on vacation, seeing as how school is out and it’s officially summertime.  That’s what people do, you know.  They pack up the kids and they take a fabulous, fun-filled vacation that they’ve been saving for, hoping for, waiting for all year.

No.  I didn’t go anywhere.  I’ve been here all along.  Here, but not really here, you know?

The school year came to an end with a first-grade awards ceremony, and then summer started, and it was like being buried alive.  For a few uncertain moments, I heard myself breathing in and out, but it was loud, so LOUD, and I could hear my heart beating in my ears as the panic started setting in, adrenaline coursing through my veins and the feeling that my heart would beat so hard it would come right through my chest cavity.

At the awards ceremony, all the kids had multiple ribbons of different colors pinned to their shirts.  As the principal read each category, from spelling to reading to perfect attendance, if they had the ribbon of the corresponding color, they would stand up.

But Connor, he had only one ribbon.  Just one, for “making strides.”  I know that you know what that category means, so I won’t say it.  I won’t say it, not here, not ever.

See, the thing is, that even though Connor was proud of his one ribbon, I hurt badly.  I hurt for him.  I let this one event create foreshadowing in my mind, and created a hurt for all the years to come when my son works so hard, harder than we thought he could, and still barely squeaks through.

Of course he is enough.  He is absolutely enough for me.  But how do I take that precious self-esteem, wrap it in a bubble, and protect it from all the realities that are coming his way?  How do I preserve that when, even now, he says he is stupid, so stupid, for “always making bad choices?”

I can’t think about that anymore.  I can’t cry anymore, I can’t worry anymore, I can’t think about wanting to scream at the top of my lungs, over and over until there is nothing but a rasping, scratching voice left.

And then summer camp started on Monday.  And oh, hell, last summer was a horrible, draining experience for all of us.  The fourth summer camp was the one that finally worked, but not until we were emotionally drained and my job was hanging by a thread from all the calls to come and pick up Connor.

This year will be better, I tell myself.  He’s taking a different medication now, and he’s older, and it will be better.

It will be better.

Summer.  And it’s already 97 degrees, and my Scotch-Irish genes are freaking out, turning me into a freckled, sweaty, mosquito-bite-ridden irritable mess.

And there is no vacation.  That ship sailed away with our money, straight to the summer camp administration office.  And that’s okay because, frankly, I’m not much in the mood to go anywhere right now.

Luckily, I have Special Needs Ryan Gosling to look forward to every week, thanks to Sunday at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood.  Somehow I know he will help see me through the summer, and get me back into the safety of the school year.

Oh Ryan, you get me. You really, really get me.

Until next week…



About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

22 responses »

  1. You know, I can think of a dozen other ribbons that Conner earned that aren’t created by people who don’t get it. They are in every post you’ve written about a little boy whose made tons of progress this year. Go back and read them. And screw the bitches that set up that award ceremony. xoxo

  2. Oh GAWD, Flan. . .I get it, I really really get it. I had a knot in my stomach reading this. I’ll offer you our old refrain of You’re Not Alone, because you are not. Not one little bit.

    And honestly. . .an AWARDS ceremony? What purpose does that serve except to make the kids who AREN’T overachieving normies feel bad? I just don’t understand.

    I feel like we will always be on the outside looking in with this shit because the world and the idiots who run it suck like that.

    Remember to breathe. I’m trying to do the same. And hoping for a better summer this year for both of us. xoxo

    • Ugh, I know. I just hate this shit. If the school spent half their time making him feel accepted, as they do trying to “prepare him for the real world”, it would be so much better.

  3. Sad post. The only response I have is my own powerlessness to make changes in my own daughter’s life or help the kids of my friends. Lugubriousity is going around on the Ryan Meme’s today.

  4. An awards ceremony? Really? And THAT is the best they could come up with? Crap. I thought our school was lame, but THIS. THIS takes the cake. There are so many other things you could say about that amazing boy Connor is. I gotta agree with Karen here… screw the bitches.

    You know what’s really good for awards ceremonies? Vodka. You can put it in one of those recycled Dasani water bottles and no one is the wiser. Or, if you’re not into vodka, whiskey looks a lot like Snapple iced tea.

    Hang in there, lady. Only 11 more weeks of summer to go, right?

    • You had me fooled lady, because you clearly know a lot about smuggling booze. Here I thought you were proper and innocent, but you had me fooled!!

  5. I am so sick of these fucking award ceremonies for every goddamned thing! You know what, here… *hands Flan a big blue ribbon*–here’s a fucking ribbon for the best goddamned mom and son combo i’ve ever had the honor to know, cyberly… And i’m with Karla–next time take a flask!

    hang in there girl. My teutonic genes ain’t liking summer much either (how many hats does a girl NEED in this sun?)

    • Seriously, I should have had a flask. Except the awards ceremony was at 8am. Aw, fuck it, who cares what time it is?

      And the sun? A merciless bastard…

  6. Why on earth can they not find ribbons to celebrate different qualities so that everyone can feel accomplished and decorated.
    This is so sad.

    • Right. It’s hard, because I get that other kids want to be recognized for how smart they are, but I know my kid sees that the other kids have 4-5 ribbons, and he has one. It’s hard to swallow.

  7. Oh wow. How can a school so completely fail to get it? At my son’s final assembly at his school last year I left in floods of tears as I felt he had been completely excluded. They showed photos of all the kids in his year. But he didn’t go on the residential trip – we couldn’t pay because we were paying for a court case to get him into a suitable school. And he didn’t go to the playgroup at that school. He was there for 6 years though. There were literally hundreds of pictures of some kids. My spectacularly beautiful boy? THREE photos. That’s it. The teacher couldn’t understand why I was so upset.

    The good news is that we won our case,and i’m really looking forward to the final assembly. Because it’s a AS school. They will think of all that stuff. They get his strengths 🙂

    • You can’t help but be left with the feeling that your kid isn’t well liked when that happens. That happened with us too, and there was only a couple of photos. I thought I was being paranoid, but I was pretty sure that there was a reason for it.

  8. I am SO with socialdialogue! The system just doesn’t get our kids and that is not right. Not right at all. I’m sorry that our kids have to deal with these people who just don’t get it. Makes me want to scream.

  9. Good, the sun and I are mortal enemies!

  10. Oh Flannery. You can take comfort in this: those feelings you described, when Connor got the “making strides” ribbon, and all your anguish for the future, and your foreshadowing? Well, all of us moms of our special kids feel that way. My turn is in a few weeks when school is over. Until then, there was yesterday with Jack freaking out, biting his dad and finally lying in his bed under a blanket in agony, because transitioning to the weekend wrecks him.

    I try not to let myself think of the future to much. I go with that bullshit cliche of one day at a time–as much as I can force myself.

  11. Pingback: Turning Lemons Into Vodka, Because I Don’t Like Lemonade « Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

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