As I go along

June 6, 2012

I left the house at 8:30 for one of those rare nighttime runs. I needed to run to the light pole at the top of the hill of that one road. You know, that one. I don’t run in the evenings all that often, but last night I needed to. I needed to stand at the top of that hill and just look at the remnants of the sunset as it blankets the world. Something about it feels calming to me.

We met our special education attorney yesterday, and because our son’s educational career has become a matter in the hands of attorneys, I can’t say much. But I can tell you that when I walked into her office and she was done introducing herself, she said something that took my breath away.

She set the three-inch binder I had assembled that contained his records, sat down and looked at me.

“In September of 2008, Luc got in trouble for yelling. He was telling because he wanted his name written on the chalkboard. He wanted his name written on the chalkboard because they were writing things on the chalkboard that had long vowels.

His teacher told him that the name Luc…. didn’t have a long vowel. Luc….. does have a long vowel. IF it is spelled Luke, the e is there to validate that it is in fact a long vowel. Because it is spelled L–U–c it appears to not have a long vowel.” She leaned forward and smiled. “But….. it DOES in fact…. have a long vowel, even IF it is spelled Luc.”

I just stared at her. I didn’t know what to say. She was the first person who had the ability to help us….. to validate what we knew. She got him. She absolutely got him.

“He was right.” She repeated. “I can help you.”

While I was running later that evening the tears came. The ones I will never ever cry in front of him…. or in front of you. The ones that know that he’s a smart, bright kid who has a bright future. Who has been in a wonderful school who has met him where he is. He’s outgrown the dynamics of that school and now we are engaged in the fight of our lives. I promised I’d spin the damn world backwards to obtain the right placement. Yesterday I put my hands on the ground and started pushing.

I went to sleep around 10:30 last night, and Luc… who had been in bed since 9, crept into my room and sat on the edge of the bed.

“How are you Mom”. He asked me. I looked at him. “How was your day today?”

I wasn’t sure what he was doing. I told him it was fine. I asked him why he was asking me that.

“Because mom everyone comes to you for everything. People call you and email you and text you all the time. People want your advice all the time. But no one ever asks how you are.”

“Dad does.” I promised him, “And that’s who matters.” I didn’t know what else to say…. except to feel touched. I was proud of him for that.

Much of what I do, in various areas of my life involves taking care of people in some fashion. As a coach, teacher, nurse….. but it’s what I love and what I have chosen to do. If I wanted to be taken care of I would have gone into a field where people took care of me instead.

To take care of myself though……. I run to that light pole at the top of the hill. I stand there for a few minutes and I look around at the sunset as it blankets the neighborhoods. It’s calming to me because that sunset seems protective of what’s below. It had been that kind of day where I averaged 30 emails and 20 texts an hour. The phone rang and rang and rang. I have slowly learned to not answer right away (unless it’s my husband or one of my athletes). I can’t take care of every single thing right here and right now. A day or two can pass. Or even a few hours.

I am only one person and I need to remember that.

I stand at the top of that hill until the feeling of everything coming at me at once slowly dissipates, and I run home again feeling calm. Feeling grounded.

As Luc sat there and talked with me I sat up and wrapped my arms around him. He’s 11, his voice is deep and he is quickly becoming a young man. I have been at this mom thing for 11 years and still….. I just make it up as I go along. Throw in some disabilities and it’s doubly making it up on the fly.I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know how I am supposed to navigate all of this except by trusting my heart.

I thought about the meeting with the attorney that morning. How she got him, she understood him. She had a plan and a strategy and an angle. However it ends up, I am confident that we can get him what he deserves.

A fair chance.

I hate that I need an attorney. I don’t understand the fact that a school district is more interested in power and control than they are the welfare of your child. They are more interested in saying “No, you can’t do that, we won’t allow ______” than they are working to meet your child’s needs. And they will do that without fully knowing, understanding or bothering to look at your child at all. Please someone in this world tell me why this is, tell me why committees of special education in New York State are like this? Why does this have to be a fight?Why can they have such power over children they don’t know?

On my end, it’s because I know my child. He’s gotten wrong placement before and if you have been around here long enough you know what we have been through. If I don’t make sure he’s in the right place, who does? The people who again, are more interested in power, control, who don’t even know him and who didn’t even have his proper records to reference?

This is my child and I have one shot. This is his life and last I checked he gets only one shot too. CSE’s…… you have hundreds of kids to get it right with and budgets to balance. These children are dollar signs to you. It all comes down to money.

Do not underestimate this child. Do not treat him as the dollar sign you see him as. He’s wise beyond words. Beyond what you will ever give him credit for.

He has the ability to know that his name was in fact a long vowel (does not excuse yelling but that’s a separate issue).

He knows by watching me and my interactions that I needed someone to ask me…. how I was doing for once.

He tucked me into bed last night and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

And I cried again but not because I was sad.  Partly because I was exhausted. Partly because I felt relief. But mostly because I felt proud. And I felt determined. We have fought this fight long and hard and it’s far from being over.

The tears came though ….because I am human.



  1. thank you, Mary.

  2. Oh, Mary.. I wish I could explain it. I really do, but I beat my head in at the system, too and I WORK in it!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m glad that Luc took the time to be with you… we all need it! 🙂

    Our 13 year old called back the other night to just “talk” and when I asked him if he’d like to go repelling over the summer he was thrilled. When I said it would be a Dad and Daniel happening only, as we’ll be near 24 weeks into our journey with his future sibling he said, “Well, then we should not do it and do stuff that we ALL can do together.”

    Yes, kids get it. That’s what makes them great.

    Still praying to find a way to (maybe?) make it from Ogden to Las Vegas in early September. Nothing needed.. just a hope to support!


    Those Crazy Ennis People 🙂

    • I LOVE THOSE CRAZY ENNIS’ES!!!! Or however I spell it!

  3. We have to be the warriors for our children so they can be warriors for themselves and others. He’s lucky to have you on his team in this life Mary.

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