Jan 7, 2013

The Hardest Thing

This post is not about CC or homeschooling. Actually, it's about the opposite...

On Monday, I will take my sweet and special Anna to a wonderful new preschool for sweet and special kids, and I will leave here there from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. And I will do this Monday through Friday, year-round.

This is, by far, the hardest thing I'll have ever done.

As a homeschooling mom, I feel called by God to educate my children at home, focusing on our Christian values. I never, ever thought I'd be buying a lunchbox and nap mat and dropping off my kid somewhere for almost the WHOLE day. What in the WORLD would make me do this now?

Well, our amazing doctor recommends speech and occupational therapy for Anna. She believes that this is the year for Anna. All the studies show that early intervention is the most beneficial, and she thinks Anna can get 'caught up' to normally-developing children if we really get into therapy. We have a few options here in Huntsville, but most of them will help Anna for 30 minutes, once a week. Not so good. However, while we were reviewing our choices, one new preschool (though we were certainly not looking for a preschool) caught our eye - Rise School of Huntsville.

Click here to read a great article with tons of more details.

We were excited about the intense therapy embedded into the learning opportunities. They do speech, occupational, music, and physical therapies all in the classroom. And how cool that it's 'special needs' kids right alongside 'normally-developing' kids! And, 90% of the special needs children in the flagship school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, graduate into mainstream kindergarten! Awesome!

So, while this will be so, so, SO hard for me, it will be the BEST thing for my little girl. 

We went today to meet the director and teachers. The director is awesome and completely transparent about policies and all the details. I really liked her. Plus, she's a Christian! Anna's teacher has a Master's in Special Ed. and is working on her Doctorate. Nice! And the teacher's assistant has been working in special education for over 11 years, and I believe she comes from the first Rise School in Tuscaloosa (where the waiting list is outrageous). Anna really clicked with all of them, and they were very accommodating about Anna's need to stay out of the sun. I know this will be a great experience for her, even if it breaks my heart right now.

Let me share a quick story from another Rise School, one that really made an impression on me:

A dad goes to observe his Down Syndrome son in his Rise class one day. His son isn't crawling yet. The teacher and other children finish their Circle Time and move to the table across the room for the next activity. The dad watches them leave his son on the floor. He watches and gets madder and madder that the teacher has left him behind! There's nothing around him, no toys to play with. What is that teacher thinking?! She knows he can't crawl; GO GET HIM, he's thinking. As he's about to bust in there and save his son, he stops. He watches his son crawl for the first time across the room to join his teacher and friends.

That's why I need a place like Rise; I would totally have been like that dad. I know I've been easy on Anna in certain areas because of her condition. She has cancer, leave her alone! Don't you understand what pain is ahead of her?! Who cares if I still do _____ and _____ and _____ for her! And I know in the end I'm not doing her any favors. . . believe me, I know.

Yes, I'm thankful for a place like Rise.

I know some of you may disagree with our family's decision, but we have prayed long and hard about it, and we feel that God has really worked this out for us. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, either. There was still a spot available in her class, while other age groups already have waiting lists (although there will be only one class, Anna's age group, right now). So, it's a happy and sad feeling in our home tonight. One minute I'm fine, the next I'm a wreck. But, working moms do this all the time; I'm certainly not the first to experience these emotions. I'm just so thankful to God that everything is working out the way it is; Anna will get the top-notch therapy and preschool education all in one. Then, when she graduates, she'll come right back home and do CC with her big sister!

Strength. That's what I'm praying for now. Strength to do what's best for her.

Isn't it crazy when God takes you in a totally different direction than what you had planned, or thought HE had planned for you? But I know that He knows best, and like always, God is good!


  1. Will be praying for you guys!! Sounds like God has worked out all the details and it is a fabulous place for Anna. Praying for easy adjustments for all of you.

    1. Thank you so much, Emily. We certainly appreciate your prayers, friend!

  2. Parenting...decisions, upon decisions, upon decisions. And so many important ones! Your openness and honesty is one of the many reasons I love your blog! Will pray for an easy transition for all of you and for great things to happen for sweet Anna!

    1. Oh, Teri, thank you so much. It's just plain HARD sometimes. Thanks for the sweet comment and your prayers!

  3. I've been following your blog for a while, but I have never commented before. First I want to say that you do an amazing job on your blog and I love your plans and resources for CC. THANK YOU. Mostly I wanted to say that your posts about sweet Anna have struck a chord in my heart. And I just wanted to say "hello" and Thank you for your honesty. I feel like we have some shared "Mama pain". I have a six year old son that has been on chemo for over three years. He has a rare disease and while we appear normal, there is this major thing in our family that is different than most. It can be VERY HARD. God always provides and most often he uses the body of Christ to show us that we are not alone. Your blog has been an encouragement to me and I appreciate you. As I read your posts I got tears in my eyes and just had to let you know that you are not alone. I get it. Our children's diseases may be different, but the Mama pain is very much the same. Your love for the Lord is so evident. Thank you!

  4. Oh, thank you, thank you for your kinds words, friend! I'm crying right now as I write this. Yes, people can feel bad for our situation, but few can really know and understand this mama pain we share. The shock of her diagnosis has worn off and everyone's moved on in their own lives, but ours is forever changed. If I didn't have Jesus, I would go insane with the fear of what's ahead of Anna. People with Anna's condition often suffer facial disfigurement from the repeated skin cancer removals and jaw tumors. I know that outward beauty is not something we're supposed to desire, but it just seems to make life easier if you're beautiful by society's standards, or even if you just look like everyone else. Anna is different, looks different, and she always will. I, of course, don't love her any less, but I know life will be hard if she doesn't have a firm foundation in the Lord and great network of supportive, loving, Godly family and friends to encourage her through this. We're working on that. Anyway, I think I'm rambling now, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing about your son and for 'getting it'; it is good to be reminded that I'm not alone. God bless you and your family!


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