So I just want to take the time to publically share how proud I am of Braden. He recently took a trip to the Dominican with two friends and Kailey. He managed to book this trip all on his own, for some that may not seem like a big deal. For Braden, its not a big deal.
Me however, finds this as a milestone reached. One in which so many people tried to convince me wouldn’t happen.
Why wouldn’t it happen you ask? Because those people felt I was making too many mistakes raising him, and that my decisions for him did not promote independence.
Some of those people felt I was too involved with his daily life, I didn’t allow him to be on his own.
In my defense I was only protecting him from their views and opinions from those assholes.
Today, Braden is over it all, he by no means finds himself “special” for his abilities for voicing his rights or pushing for his deserved quality of life. So this post is not about him, the whole attention embarrasses him as he doesn’t see it as I do.
This is for me.
The countless nights I spent screaming into my pillow, or the afternoon tears that I wiped away before turning to face my children. Or the meetings that I sat not so quietly listening to someone who “disagrees” with my judgement.
There are many examples that I could share with you, but one of the most recurring ones was my decision to NOT put Braden on a “Special Needs school bus”. Every single first day of school, the bus would show up and wait for me to get him out the door. Every single September I’d tell them the same thing ” I told the school that I would be driving Braden this year.” They just couldn’t get it through their heads that I didn’t want Braden on that bus, how awful it would have been to send his sister on a difference bus with all his neighbour hood friends. While he shuttles off on the little bus, without any of his friends. NOT on my watch bitch.
That wasn’t the only reason, I was a stay at home mom and truly had no issues taking them to school. Many of the other mom’s were driving their kids to school, why was it such a big deal for me?
Honestly, I would tell them NO school bus thank you…but it would still show up and it made me feel for just a moment that maybe I was making a mistake.
In my reality however, in the real world we don’t have “special needs” airplanes, trains or even destination travel vehicles. Did they ever think of that? NO, because they only worked in the world of “special needs” kids, they didn’t have a clue what living in it was like.
My desires from a very young age was to teach Braden just that, things will go to shit in life and you’re going to have to problem solve and find solutions. Most of my reasons for not following the aggressively passive school board regulations was my appetite to teach Braden how to function in a NOT readily accessible world for physically challenged individuals.
My anger stems from those who made me feel “terrible” for my resistance for following the guidelines placed on those in the school system with disabilities. They were wrong. Much of their governing was not suited for the best interest of Braden, and that wasn’t going to work with me.
I had meeting after meeting with people trying to tell me how I was making mistakes, how I was doing harm because “He’ll never be independent”. Talking behind my back, judging me and then calling me in to discuss the “challenges I was creating” for Braden, the teacher and classroom. Imagine feeling like a burden or a problem maker when all you wanted was the best for your child.
To those people I say “Go fuck yourself”.
Every single one of you who rolled your eyes at me or turned away with curse words at the tip of your tongue. I would love to meet you today, I would love nothing more than to sit down and have coffee to discuss how “dependant” I have made Braden.
I must share with all of you, that my son single-handedly booked his own trip to the Dominican, found his own accessible hotel, accessible room complete with accessible washroom. Booked his own accessible transportation to and from the airport, and handled transportation to an excursion in the Dominican. If I hadn’t had taken the path that I chose when he was young how would he have learned to self-direct the services he needs during times of disorder or uncertainty.
You see, when it came time to leave for his Monkey excursion during his holiday the tour bus showed up and was not accessible. If I hadn’t taken the time during his childhood to prepare him for problems how could he have functioned in times like this. He knew exactly what to do, he didn’t panic, didn’t get upset, he took charge and had his needs met.
That’s exactly what those people in the school system didn’t understand, they don’t live it! How could they understand the problems that arise. Still infuriates me!
Maybe I need to just explain why choosing to drive him to school as opposed to using the school bus caused him to be an independent thinker. Not everyone in our life had a wheelchair accessible vehicle. So those times when I possibly got sick, or was running late Braden would be stuck at school. Guess what? Who’s going to pick him up? We would have to problem solve, nana could go get him, or maybe a friend would get him and bring him to me. Whatever the situation was he had to adapt and learn to be flexible. Things weren’t always going to work out as we originally planned. Those situations happen to kids everyday, when a parent is running late afterschool so you send your child home with another student. I wanted my son to have those experiences as well, we needed chaos in our lives….its those moments that help us grow. Possibly if he had not experienced those moments, he would not have been prepared to handle the mobility problems faced in the Dominican.
He managed to travel successfully with all his friends, equipment, supplies and making sure (on his own) that everything was accounted for, let me tell you after years of travelling this is not an easy task
How’s that for independence? How did I do know? and that’s just one of the most amazing things he has done ALL on his own. NO help from anyone. His own apartment, his own truck, college and dealing with all his medical supports, equipment vendors, doctors and everything related to his overall health.
I am so proud of him, you are beyond amazing and continue to impress and surprise us daily. I like to believe it had something to do with all our sweat, blood and tears…but in reality I know this is all him.
I was difficult, challenging and at times one hell of a bitch to deal with.(Still can be) Although I cried, screamed and fell to the ground on some occasions, I did get back up and each time just a little stronger. With all that, we have taught him to do the same.
I would also like to thank those of you who did support us, those who stood tall beside us during difficult moments. The ones who never backed down from the school board, and always put Braden’s best interest above and at times in front of even your job security. We did a great job friends, thank you for your dedication to my family xo
Next trip is Chicago and then Dubai. With each trip we worry less, you did a great job son. It was so nice to lay our heads each night on our pillows and not worry.
**I also want to make it very clear to those of you who may have rode the “special” needs school bus or any parents who make the choice to send their child to school on the bus. I DO NOT in any way find fault in that. If you enjoy the bus, if it makes your life easier to use that service then I do believe you are doing the right thing. What worked for me, may not work for you. I am not saying my way was better, I do not think I am a better parent because of my choices. I do feel I am a better parent to Braden because of my choices. I did what I felt was best for us. SO please do not feel like I am in disagreement with you, I know you are doing the best for you. I truly see nothing wrong with the school bus, I just feel if I didn’t want to use it I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad for saying no.
Well my lovelies, rant over.