Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can I trade this past week in for a box of cookies?

Because I think I deserve a box of cookies.

A REALLY big box of cookies.

And I'm not talking Chips A Hoy's here, I want the really good ones, with fudge and peppermint, that come in crinkly paper bags with fancy little paper cups, the kind that just scream "Oh I'm really expensive, so you should drink me with a cup of flavored coffee with real cream in it".

You know - THOSE kind of cookies.

It's been that kind of week.

The majority of you intrepid folks who follow my little blog know that my grandmother passed away this past week. Gram and I always had a challenging relationship when we were younger, she had favorites among her grandkids, and she was never very subtle about it. When your grandmother walks up to you on your wedding day, and the first thing she says is "Where's my Tracy?" you get a pretty good idea of where you stand with her. But the woman who said that to me, the woman who I butted heads with as a kid, disappeared a long time ago.

The woman that she became was tiny, and fragile and confused, and seeing her change like that, seeing what time and life had done made any resentment I had disappear a long time ago. I know that she appreciated me being there when Grandpa died. I know that she loved me, that she respected my intelligence, that she trusted me to be there for her if she needed anything. And so, when her body finally started shutting down, I stayed with her. I sat next to her, kissed her cheek, held her hand, and told her it was ok for her to go. That Grandpa, her parents, her sister and brother, her cousins, all the people she loved were waiting for her, and that we'd miss her, but we'd be ok.

I was there with her when the Hospice nurse came in to see her, and the two of us gave her a bath and changed her gown. I washed and dried her, and put lotion on her skin just like she'd done for me as a baby. I was there with her when her breathing changed, when her color changed, and I knew she was going. I leaned over and whispered to her that I loved her, that my parents, my sisters and brother, my cousins, and all our kids loved her. I wanted her to know that someone was there with her, I wanted the last thing she heard to be that she was loved.

And it was.

As soon as I was done telling her, her breathing stopped. Her face relaxed, she looked peaceful and calm, and I knew she was gone. I borrowed a stethoscope from the Med Tech, and just like I did with my grandfather, I put it to her chest, and listened for a full minute, and then asked them to call Hospice so the nurse could come out and pronounce her.

The next couple of hours were a blur of phone calls, gathering up her personal things, thanking the staff for taking such good care of her, honestly I really don't remember all of it, I was on auto-pilot at that point. I think the next thing I really clearly remember was talking to my friend Tom on the phone as I was headed over to my brothers house. I spent a few hours over at Joes, just talking, eating, drinking a couple of beers, enjoying my niece, and laughing with Joe and Nena as we swapped stories about Gram. That time with family was exactly what I needed, my brother is one very funny guy, and the stories we shared had us both gasping for air from laughing.

So there's that.

Today Wyatts father and I went in for yet ANOTHER IEP meeting. We've both been pretty frustrated with the school, there's a serious lack of communication on their part when it comes to any academic difficulty Wy's having. We've both repeatedly asked that we be updated on a regular basis, so that we can start addressing issues before they get to the point of affecting his grades, and that just hasn't happened.

I think part of the problem is (and this has been an ongoing issue ever since Wy started school), that Wyatt is a very pleasant child. He's sweet tempered, very polite, and really lovable. Since he's not a behavior problem teachers are not quite as on top of him as he needs them to be. I think the other problem is that because Wy was doing so well last year, we may have pushed for more mainstreaming than he's ready to handle yet. Transitioning from elementary to middle school is tough for typically developing kids, and even more so for one on the Autism Spectrum. It's a HUGE change, and adding the change in the custody situation on top of it may have been asking a little too much of Wy.

So, we're dialing things back a little. He'll still go to the regular Language Arts and Social Studies classes, but we're switching him to a resource class for math and science. John and I have not been at all impressed with his science teacher, he's never once responded to an e-mail or returned a phone call, and he ducks John every time he tries to talk to him, so I'm just as happy to have him out of that class. The math teacher has been great with him, but her class moves at a pace that's just faster than what Wy can keep up with.

I've also been asked by the Special Ed teacher to come in and do a workshop for the teaching staff on how best to work with kids with autism. I'll be putting that together over the next few days, and I'm really looking forward to doing it. Between that, and the workshop on Palliative care that I'll be doing for a group of EMT's I'm developing a nice little side gig as an "Expert" speaker!

So there's that.

And I think I've earned that big box of cookies.

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