I am sitting at the table.
I look across the hard brown slab of wood that is dividing “their” side from “our” side.
I see their smiles. I see their notebooks. I hear the clock ticking.
I hear the mindless chatter about the weather.
I feel my breathing – I feel every shallow breath.
I see my fingers tapping – first on my legs, then on the table.
I close my eyes.
I tell myself, “Don’t cry! Don’t cry! Whatever you do, don’t cry”
And it begins.
My son’s Individualized Education Plan.
Their words swirl around my head.
All of the things he cannot do.
And with every word that comes from their lips, I relive the day he was diagnosed.
I tell myself, “Stay focused. Stay focused.”
I am his mama. I will get him what he needs.
I have to get him what he needs.
Present Level of Performance, Goals, Accommodations, Placement.
I run my hands through my hair.
I bend my head over.
I clinch my fists under my eyes to hold myself up.
Will I get him what he needs?
The meeting is over.
I sit in my car.
I am crying.
I can’t breathe.
I bring my hands to the wheel. I can’t make them stop shaking.
I am helpless. Utterly and completely helpless.
My boy. My sweet baby boy.
What am I going to do?
I walk in the door.
I walk straight to the refrigerator.
I grab the bottle of wine.
And I drink.
I pour another glass.
And I drink.
Another glass. Another glass. Another glass.
And I drink. And I drink. And I drink.
My son, my daughter, my husband.
And what will they do?
It has been two years since this meeting.
The hard brown slab that divided their side from ours changed.
It began to flow.
I was able to put out my hand.
And from their side, they grabbed it.
And they put out their hand.
And from our side, I grabbed it.
It was a lot of work.
It was painful.
So very painful and hard for everyone.
And there were tears.
So many, many, many tears.
And I almost broke.
Only God knows how close I came to breaking.
But together we decided what my son needed.
I never thought it possible.
I thought it anything but possible
They are so powerful.
As a mom I felt so powerless.
But the hands came together.
From two different sides.
Yes, they came together.
And it changed my son’s life.
It changed our family’s life.
It changed my life.
And so now I do not drink.
I have been sober for over two years.
And we sit around that table.
It can still be hard.
There is something about an IEP meeting that will never be easy.
But the meeting is for my son.
For my little guy.
Parents and educators coming together to meet his unique and special needs.
My sparkling blue-eyed boy’s needs.
And the hands will reach out across that one table.
And there will not be two sides.
There can’t be two sides.
There must only be one.
For my son.
For your child.
Copyright © cheairs graves August 30, 2011