18 August, 2008


Anna, Jake's loving, kind, tender, demanding, experienced aide..is no longer going to be his aide at school.

She can't physically care for him and take care of her body. When she asked about the future, changing her position in the class, being his aide half day etc, on Friday, she had no idea that it would mean that Monday morning she would be somewhere else.

I sobbed on the side of the road after I dropped Jake off at school today. His classroom teacher Janet had tears in her eyes when she told me. She didn't know until this morning either when Anna called, also in tears. It was the right thing for the district to move her. She will be with pre-school kids now; little ones who are a third of Jake's body weight. She will help little 3 and 4 year olds with disabilities and sad mommies, and those people will be so lucky to have her there. She is a good egg. She is good to the core.

and we will be okay. I can say that now, 12 hours later without having the tears in my eyes slip out onto my cheek. Okay I guess not. I am crying again.

It goes like this right? I mean change is the only thing that's constant. It will be a growth experience for all of us. We will find someone else who will care for Jake, and fit into the classroom, and not be bitter that my nearly 8 year old still isn't toilet trained. He or she will help him eat, and encourage him and know soon enough what his favorite book is and remember first to offer him water when he is upset.

I had to explain my tears to Lucy who sat patiently in the back seat eating vanilla wafers while I pulled to the curb and cried in my hands that no I was not mad at her. I said I was sad, and she asked me why.

I didn't tell her the whole truth. I left out the part about how people are unkind, and impatient, and most won't bother to learn all of Jake's subtle cues about when he needs to eat and pee and rest and run. Didn't tell her that while aides get paid a bit more for a kid in pull ups they will begrudge every minute they are in the bathroom with your kid...or worse yet leave your kid in soiled pants and let them get on the bus because they won't be there on the other end of the ride when Jake is miserable and yelling and has kicked off his shoes because he is so upset and embarrassed. I didn't tell her that the difference between a good aide and a bad one will make our home life easy or hard every single day. I left out that an aide without intuition may as well not be there, and that if her brother isn't pushed and held to standards he won't learn and grow and we will lose even more time. I couldn't bare the thought of explaining that most people will just think her brother is severely mentally retarded and never even notice that he laughs at jokes and smirks when he has gotten away with something. I didn't tell her that I was crying because her brother's life is hard on an easy day and finding someone he can spend all those hours with and feel safe and happy will be just one more thing that makes it hard for mommy to relax while he is in school.

I told her I was sad because one of Jake's teachers had to get a different job, and that Jake was really going to miss her. She asked if it was Anna. and when I told her it was, Lucy said "me too."

We will all miss her.

I picked Jake up from school so he could have some time with Anna who had to come back to his school to drop off her keys. They hugged and we all cried and Jake kept hugging her and loving on her. We gave her a pretty ring as a goodbye present, and I made sure she has all of our information. Her new school is actually only three blocks from our house, so maybe we will get to see her sometimes, but we know how it goes in this life.

I am trying to just sit in the space of thanks. I am so thankful that we had a chance to have her as such an important part of Jake's life. He is a better kid for having her as an aide, and I was so thankful for being able to relax when he was in her care.

and now I am going to drink a beer.
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