Fail…Epic from my Perspective

fail
fāl
verb 
to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal.
 ———————————————————-
I…lost. I feel sad. Defeated. Over the last year, my arm has tired from fighting it’s desire to raise the white flag with my forced willing it to remain down. Now it’s on display for all to see, waving high.
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For the last year especially, I have been very gracefully meeting with my son’s school and the school district in hopes to bring more resources for high functioning autism to the buildings. Even through all of the meetings where I felt like things may change, through the follow up meetings realizing things had not, and all of the meeting that followed, asking for more, I remained sure that we would stay the course. We loved the school. We love the school. The parent relationships are great. The focus on community kept me going in hopes that I might find myself in that circle of awesome people who find friendships in their serving the school. We moved a year ago to be closer to the fabulous school that had so many things I want for my family. But my family doesn’t fit anymore. And I am sad. And I feel like I failed.
How many times do we feel that way? Like we tried and we failed. There is another path but we don’t like it, we don’t want to do it. Yeah, it looks good and it probably is but WE DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS. We want to wallow. We want to feel sorry for ourselves. We want to fight again, but we don’t. Our flag is up and there it’s going to stay. It’s a failure flag and we are flying it high.
The truth is that none of us sign up for what we are given. We don’t sign up for the parents we have, the talents we are given, the life that we exist in. We didn’t sign up for it. But we are in it and have to do something with it. There are times where that white flag is lifted high and we don’t care anymore. That’s find. Take the tie to wallow in that. One thing I try to tell my kids is that it’s okay to be mad, upset, sad, or cranky sometimes. But when you are done with those feelings, take time to work and worship. Work on the life that God gave you. It might not be what you think you want. You may have, “worse,” parents, “less,” talent, and a more, “boring,” life than someone else. But it is YOUR LIFE. Work with the parents that you have. No matter what, that is your family of origin and you will have something of them in you. Praise God for those parts of you that are part of your heritage and nurture the good things. You have talents. They may not include being a concert pianist or the next Simone Biles, but you may have an artistic ability that will inspire kids at a teen center, or a talent to see numbers and formulas easy where you can help various organization, including your home, with budgeting. You may try something that you hope to have a talent for and you may fail. That’s okay. Take time to thank God for the ability to try numerous things until your talents are unearthed. Worship Him for the life he gave YOU. He has not failed you.
So, back to my failure. I tried to gracefully advocate for my son. As the school year loomed in the ever-closing distance, I found myself jittery. Last year I gained quite a bit of stress weight and needed more than one anti-anxiety med. I failed. My health failed. My family failed at times. I failed to get the resources for my child. But then. But. then.
About three weeks ago, something (probably God, duh) prompted me to look at the website for the Middle School of the district we actually live in now. I was in a dark spot I was shaky and cranky and mad and sad and scared. Nothing in me thought we would more to a regular looking school that was not very high rated. We wanted OUR school with cool people and diversity and community programs and environmentally focused fun! Not some OTHER school. Ugh. But I Googled it anyway. It was there that I found out that the Middle School of the district we live in has 3 levels of autism care classrooms, based on the needs of the student (insert the smallest, tiniest flicker of hope mixed with the terrified feeling of leaving our current school – here).
Today, I finished the registration of my kids at the new school. But my white flag of failure is still up. I still feel like a mom who failed her child because I could not force a school to do more. I know what you are going to say, because you have said it. I am a great mom because I did all I can and I made an awesome choice for my son. But I am not one who likes to lose where my kids are concerned. I always root for the underdog. And when I am the underdog, I need to win. I do have hope that the new school will be a great fit for my kids. My daughter decided to change as well so her little fashionista self would not have to wear a uniform and could ride a school bus. She is easy like that. But I have a flag for her too because the other school was so cool. I hope the new one will be, but…
I didn’t sign up for this. I didn’t sign up for special needs. None of us did though. None of us signed up for autism or any of the other mental and physical needs we handle on a daily basis. We all fight. We all wave our white flags from time to time. But we all need to know when to take the time to worship the one who cares for us no matter what, especially when we are holding that flag.
Mine is still up, but I know that it will come down and I will fight again when I need to, because THAT is a talent I have.  As much as failure is hard to admit and to feel, it also has to be earned.

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One comment

  1. Zachary Lassiter says:

    Michelle,

    You didn’t fail… schools suck when it comes to Autism, and usually the most helpful people aren’t the administration but the rare teacher who takes an interest in challenging someone’s bright mind in their interest areas.

    It is painful for me reading some of this, because it very much reminds me of my education. I failed in a spectacular fashion in the general education atmosphere pretty much having no credits to graduate in 5 years of high school… then a teacher could see how smart I was and challenged me. She had me test out, and I had all my credits to graduate in two weeks… but even after she tested me out she held me back to keep challenging me because I needed it. Not only for social development but my self esteem after failing 5 years of school

    The sad fact is being the parent of someone on Autism means you have to be a warrior… my parents were not and luckily I had a teacher fill that role. The bureaucracy of the school system wants to provide the least services as it can for it to get by, because services cost money. You didn’t fail, sometimes you win the battle by retreating to safer ground.

    Good luck, praying for you and give our daughter a hug for me.

    -Z

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