Back when I switched over to this blog I had intentions of making it about Evie and me. About bringing up a child to understand the wildness. Her wildness. But she'd begun to show signs of not wanting me poking a camera in her face and that made me reconsider a full-scale documentation. Also, it felt as if constantly thinking about how to blog the experience of our relationship would detract from the reality. Negatively impact it. Steal from the attention that should be on her and her alone.
Of course Evie and my relationship with her, and our relationship as a three person family with added dog, is the very centre of my life. As the individual who writes here I am a seeker of meaning and truth and have come to recognise and embrace that fact, but I am also a celebrant of Life (I do love the word celebrant) and my nearest, dearest expression of Life is my family.
|The artist and me in 2009.|
All parents consider their kids to be exceptional - it's in the job description - and I've always felt Evie to be special. It's easy to brag about your kid knowing you're not bigging yourself up because clearly you didn't make her. My recent re-engagement with the possibility that Evie may have a way of processing sensory information that differs from the majority has only made my convictions about her stronger. However, I'd comforted myself that her differences were mild and didn't interfere with her life in anyway. Can you see where this is going?
Tuesday night I met with her teacher for the catch-up on progress that they do each term. I got to see Evie's workbooks while I waited and for some reason I hadn't seen them for about nine months, maybe even longer. I'll admit I opened them feeling pretty darn smug because I know she's bright and imaginative and I see what she creates at home. I was excited to see what she'd been up to in school. Well, she's been floundering. Drowning. I could not recognise my girl in these books. The chaos, the lack of actual work, the unfinished and unstarted work, the increasingly exasperated comments from her teacher at the bottom of each page. Given that I had discussed Evie's issues with her a couple of months ago I'm left wondering why she hadn't taken me aside and told me Evie wasn't doing well, but my primary reaction was of horror that my wonderful girl has been in this mess. She draws sad faces in her maths book. *knife enters heart and turns*
I shan't write out my conversation with the teacher but it was positive and good and I like her a lot. She is young and inexperienced but also enthusiastic, empathetic and she loves the kids. She wants to help.
Two days of deeper reading about Sensory Processing Disorder helped me peel back layers and layers of information and research until they revealed a portrait of my quirky, funny daughter. She had been there all along. Text book. Living in her quirky, funny family with a long history of brain differences on my family's side and a major struggle with focus on her father's...well, thank you dear Universe, she just fit. She is just like us only more so. I read and read and thought and thought and then cried. A lot. For my darling girl who is already so 'different' in the outside world and now this. I felt useless.
But here's the facts: she's brilliant, she's highly literate, she's creative, geeky and capable. As an adult, the world she'll live in will be perfect for her as long as she hangs on to her confidence. As long as being outside the mainstream and not fitting the mould doesn't make her feel 'broken' or less than the kids who are able to conform to the standards and behaviour required by our educational system. Outside the classroom none of this matters. Outside the classroom (or that adult version of the classroom, the office) she has no special needs she is just special.
Before she started school we were considering homeschooling her. Unschooling her. But the combination of her highly social personality and the financial need for me to keep my job meant that didn't and can't happen. Which is a shame. We can't afford to send her to a school with different teaching methods even if there was one near us. So we stay with where she is and we advocate and support and make this a positive thing for her. Protect her delicate self-esteem. I'd like to think we can create more calmness and routine at home for her but as I say, we're a different kind of trio and maybe it'll be just as positive for her to feel that she belongs with us just as she is and just as we are because that is true. I called her in, this child. She called me.
|My first viewing of her face from 2006. The legendary 'referral photo' we adoptive parents longed for, stapled to her file. Mine. My child.|
Yesterday, after a cry on Charlie's shoulder, I took the dogs out into the fields to clear my head. Walking alongside the stream, deep in thought, I suddenly felt hands take hold of me and turn me 45 degrees to my left. "North" it said and indeed I was then facing due North. Being a bit bemused, I thought,"Broughton Gifford?(the village in that direction) What's in Broughton Gifford???" Dur. Not North...North! I need to stay on track with my North Star and bring Evie with me. That's our way.
Returning from my meeting on Tuesday, my head pounding, I wanted to lie in a hot bath and untangle it all but no...the water heater had blown up. No heat for us until last night, 48 hours later. Merely coincidence that this should happen in exact alignment with my wobble on the fire tender front? Who knows? I'm not saying it wasn't.
But I'm not saying it was.