Baby steps. That’s what I have to remind myself. We have to be able to take teeny tiny steps forward before we can run. For us right now, that means attending school as much as we can, which I’m sure sounds odd to parents of healthy kids, but for us it’s our new normal.
Rosie has chronic migraines. Until last year, we were able to control them and she had regular school attendance. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the school year because she was in the ER a couple of times and treated at home for over a week instead of being admitted to the hospital. We’re lucky to be at a school that offered us options for her to complete her 7th grade year and understood her health issues.
They’ve been just as great this year. I met with the principal and new counselor in early August to put accommodations in place for this year. When kids have been out of school, it’s common to ask for paced re-entry – having them go a couple hours at a time and then build upon it so they can manage chronic pain and not have it get out of control. Rosie wanted to try to go back to school full-time so we didn’t ask our middle school for schedule modifications. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to attend full-time. The first week, she had a migraine on the third day. Last week, she had a three-day episode that resulted in an ER visit. This week, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get her there at all.
Laying awake in bed, I made the decision that we needed to explore home schooling. We talked about it in May, but Rosie was resistant. Since we were struggling to get her to school, Kelly and I felt that it was time to yield and give her the option. She’d be able to work at her own pace, on her own schedule and we’d find activities and groups so she’d have social interaction during the day. Rosie and I had a long discussion, looked at every angle and she decided that she wanted to stay in school. “I want to make it work Mama,” she said. Despite the migraine pain and stress from some of the bullying issues that still linger, she wants to tough it out. I am so proud of her.
So we’re trying. This week, once again, has been hit or miss. She was there all day Monday. The afternoon on Tuesday. Yesterday, I had to pick her up at 12:30. And, then this morning her tummy still hurt, but she sat up in bed and said, “I have to go to school.” So, she did.
My cell phone has not left my side. I am a realist and know that at any moment, the school nurse may call. But, then again, I’m optimistic and keep hoping that today’s the day we make it all the way through. The good news is that I’m learning to accept the way life is now and so is Rosie. While I still hate to call the attendance lady and work out all the details on missing work, I’m less stressed about it because that’s just what our life is like now. Rosie, who would have been bothered by all the chit-chat about her missing school from the other kids, is holding her head high and walking in every day with a smile. She’s one tough cookie and that gives me lots of hope.
So, baby steps. That’s what will be taking. Lots of teeny tiny little steps over the next few weeks because I am 100% convinced that we can run again. It may just be at a different pace.