Dream: School would get out at 3pm. My child would board the bus and head for home. I would wait outside my front door every afternoon at 3:15pm. A yellow school bus would pull up out front of my house, my kiddo would come bounding down the steps of the bus, running at me with a jacket dragging the ground in one hand and some prized artwork he did at school in the other. Once he crossed our lush green lawn, we would embrace in a big bear hug, he’d turn around to wave to his friends as the bus drove off, and we’d head inside for an after school snack while talking about his fun filled day.
Reality: Leave work around 2:30, drive to Q’s school, and grab a parking spot, At 3pm I walk up to the school’s front door and wait on Q’s teacher to walk him out. Once Q gets to me, depending on his mood/day, we hug or high five, the teacher gives me a brief synopsis of his day and we cross the dull grey parking lot back to the car. On the drive home, I ask questions and Q gives me little detail about his day. Once we’re home, Q has a glass of chocolate milk and we begin our evening until bedtime.
Quite honestly, there is nothing wrong with my reality. I know plenty of mothers who would LOVE to have my work schedule and would LOVE to be able to drive their kiddo to/from school every day. However, sometimes I catch myself in that “grass is greener on the other side” mentality. Sometimes, as I stand there and wait on Q to walk out of school with his special education teacher, I choke back tears as I watch all of the other kids load the buses with their friends. I get so jealous of them. Such a simple and normal thing as a kindergartner walking out of school and loading a bus has me reaching for a tissue pretty regularly.
The tears are usually for 2 reasons. Tears of relief and tears of sadness. The tears of relief are because Q finally likes school and I am so relieved that we found Q’s school and his amazing teachers. It is such a relief to know that he is not only safe but happy at school. The tears of sadness are hard….I get choked up because I see all of these kids, carrying their character backpacks, loading their assigned bus, not paying their untied shoe any attention because they are so engrossed in whatever conversation they are having with their friends. Seeing these “normal” kids do “normal” kid things, while I wait for my son’s special education teacher to walk him out to me is flat hard.
Sometimes, it is so hard to put my dreams of what I thought motherhood would look like aside. I think, as every new experience, as a mom, comes up, I am mourning that dream all over again. Very rarely do my dreams match my reality, in regards to motherhood. Nobody dreams of becoming a mother of a child with special needs. Nobody dreams of IEP meetings, or special education, or therapies. And while I wouldn’t trade this life I’ve been given for a single thing, I still find myself jealous of the moms with normal kids…
My dreams may never match my reality. Most days, that is A-OK with me. But, there are those days when I envy a “normal” life and wish that my reality wasn’t so “special”. There are days when I couldn’t imagine my life without Q and all of the extra “hards”. Then there are those days when I wonder “why me?” “why us?” or “why Quin?” There are days when our lives are boring and standard and our unique definition of “normal”. Then there are days when things are crazy and chaotic and I dream of a “normal” life. There are times when I am thankful for the new perspective of life I have, thanks to Q’s challenges. Then there are times when I am flat out jealous of some random 6 year old little boy loading a school bus.
All in all, despite how perfect my dreams were in my head, my reality is far better suited for me. One thing is for sure, I never ever dreamed my heart would hold this much love for one little boy.
“The best dreams happen when you’re awake”