I had so many thoughts going through my head. Anger, frustration, questions, and disappointment. I determined disappointment was probably the greatest of my emotions. I feel let down. I feel we have let Sarah down. Not just Sarah, but all the others in her same shoes. I hate that I feel ungrateful. The caller even said to me that many parents are just happy for a place to send them. Them. Who is them? As I thought more about that, my anger intensified. It wasn't suppose to be like this. This wasn't what my revised plan looked like. But maybe that is the problem. It is MY revised plan. Maybe I've got it all wrong. Why can't I just be grateful?
I left the comfort of my chair and headed downstairs where I store Sarah's box. The life planning box. The one that has her life recorded in binders. Assessments, reports, IEP's, medical history, records of SSI filings and the one marked MR/DD. I made a mental note to change that. Ohio finally did away with the MR part of the equation earlier this year. But did they? As I thought about that I became sad again. In my opinion they can call it whatever they want, but their philosophy is wrong. Or is mine? I went through some newsletters. I looked at the pictures. Depressing. Or is it? I needed to get to work. So I agreed with myself that I would keep an open mind. Maybe drive by a little later.
When I walked into the office more than an hour later than usual, there was a mound of bags containing shredded paper neatly tied and stacked by the back door. It had obviously been a productive day in the back of the office. We have only one person handling that job right now. She is very effective at what she does. The other workers need her to complete her task so they can continue to do theirs. It just so happened it was payday. I have the task of handing out the paychecks. I usually get a mumbled thank you as I walk around. When I got to the worker in the back, I got a huge, from ear to ear, grin. And a very big thank you. It made my day. It also made me even more angry about that phone call this morning. Yet, I pushed on.
It was music therapy night. So I had an idea. I asked Sarah to get ready a few minutes early. I wanted to make a short detour, glance at a building one more time. As we drove down the street, I was surprised. It looked better than I remembered.
Maybe it is my problem. Maybe I just need to loosen up. Maybe I need to give it a try. Sarah was in her usual place in the back seat. She was listening to her Ipod as she always does when we're driving. She usually has a great sense of direction and knows immediately when I make a turn that is out of our pattern. She has actually saved me from going the wrong way on several occasions. So when she first asked why I turned right out of our street and not left like we should have for music therapy, I just told her I had someplace to go first.
As we got closer to the building, it really did not look as bad as I remembered. I thought to myself that I just need to arrange another tour. Maybe John can come along. And then I heard Sarah's voice...
"Moooommmm NO. Mom!!! Please." "What Sarah, What's wrong?" "I'm not going there." "It's OK Sarah. Don't worry." I sped up to turn the corner. Quickly. I didn't have the heart to tell her that is her FUTURE. Just this morning I received the call. The official call. The one with just two words. Two words that brought me to tears. The recommendation for future placement that will be on Sarah's final IEP next week...Sheltered Workshop...