Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rocks and Other Hard Places

Okay, we have much to discuss, so let's get started.

My living room, Friday, 4:30 pm:

A phone call goes to voice mail because I'm in the middle of a rousing game of Chase The Kid Around The Backyard Until He Falls To The Ground In A Fit Of Giggles. Phone calls are just not as important as that.

Friday, 4:38 pm:

I check voice mail. It's the Person In Charge at the school I'm on the waiting list for. The school that's supposed to change my life. Where I'll get training in cane skills, and pretty much everything else that falls under the blanket of Learning How To Be A Capable Blind Person (being able to tell what's going on in a room, without sight, being able to cook, clean, get dressed, comb hair, read, maneuver busy public places, use my computer, and so on)

She says a spot has opened up. I just need to finalize my plan for daycare, and I can get started.
Friday, 4:39pm:

Freak out.


The Plan That Was:

I would attend the school every weekday, from 8am to 3pm. Two hour commute, depending on dependability of Transportation (which includes, in all, Cab to Bus Stop to Train and finally a short five to ten minute walk to final destination.) So I'd wake up, around 4:30am, get ready, get Harri ready, kiss Lennon goodbye (Eric would be changing his work schedule so that he could see her off to school), and wait for my cab to pick me and the little man up to take him to day care, and then take me to my bus stop, about twenty minutes away. I would get to school, spend the day with a blindfold on, and then take the commute in reverse, waiting for my cab to hopefully pick me up in time, every day, to get my kids at the day care they've been at for nearly twelve hours. I would get home around the same time as Eric, we would eat dinner, and then it'd be time to put the kids to bed. Repeat for anywhere from 8 months (if I'm a fast learner) to a year and a half.

We've discussed how that could be different. Maybe Eric could take Harrison into daycare so he'd be able to sleep in a little. That would mean Eric would go in to work just slightly later. I might just make the school pay for a cab the whole way to save commute time. Little reliefs, here and there.

And this is how I would spend one of the last years that I have sight. In a blindfold, away from my family. It would be stressful, tiring, and emotionally draining, but I would be doing something actively positive about my vision loss.


The Plan That Might Be:

I'm considering holding off on the school. I just don't think I can put Harrison and Lennon in day care. All my life, I've only ever wanted to be a mom. And ask me my favorite age for kids? I'll tell you Two. Which just happens to be the age Harri will be this year that I'm gone.

I just don't think I can deal with missing this summer with my kids. My little girl will be six. I will be gone for the first half of first grade. I will miss her like crazy. I will be putting Harrison in a state daycare, and I will go crazy thinking about him and whether or not I'm missing the cute things he'll be saying, or the new things he'll be learning. I will see them for about two hours every day. I'm not coping with that thought very well. I want to spend that time with my kids, because I just don't feel like I'll ever get it back.

So I'd need to call the school tomorrow to let them know that I'm going to pass up the chance for independence, relief from the fear of What I'm Supposed To Do When I Go Blind, and the benefit of having someone work with me on career goals, emotional support, group counseling, safe living skills, and mobility training from people I KNOW I would work well with.

I don't know if it's the right choice. This might be my only chance to benefit from this particular program that I felt so good about. Budget cuts, state requirements, ridiculously long waiting lists (I've waited 4 months on this list, and I was at the top of it, so it's not unlikely that going to the bottom of the list now could mean waiting over a year once I'm past the point that I'm ready to go back)... Any number of things could stand in the way of me being able to take advantage of this opportunity to cope with blindness in the best way I've found for me.

BUT I just can't see how I could possibly leave my family, especially my little boy, every day. I'll have my whole life to be blind and deal with that. I don't have a lot of time with sight. And I don't want my last part of my life with vision to be spent under a blindfold.


I'm completely not 100% on that decision. And I have until tomorrow-ish to call the school back and let them know what I want to do. I don't know that I have what it takes to make this choice.

Up until this point, losing sight has been a future thing. Other than the occasional trip over a sidewalk curb, or bump into a pillar, I haven't had to deal with the Life Changing Effect Of It All. It's been like, "Ugh, that sucks that life will be harder," but I've still gone along my merry way.

Now life is harder. Choices are harder. Things are changing. And yeah. It sucks. And yeah, I might be ready for it yet.


witticism here said...

Ugh. I hate decisions like this, you know, the whole two roads and you have to pick the "right" one.

Just know this, just because you choose to go to this school doesn't make you any less of a mom. I promise.

The Wizzle said...

I don't know what I would do either. It's so, so hard. Leaving your kids for something else - anything else, no matter how valuable or positive or awesome - is never easy. It's never a simple choice.

Becky said...

Tough decisions - so hard. I personally opted for doing it gradually and it has worked out great for me. Like you, just couldn't leave the kids for that long -- however, I know they'll be fine if that is what feels best for you. Call me or email if you ever want to chat about it - My kids look back on my month at Guide Dogs as this fun time with dad (I was missing them like crazy) but it did all work out for us all. Love to you and your fam - its an interesting thing to sort through for sure!

Katy said...

Just follow your heart. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but that's my advice

diane said...

Pray. Our Heavenly Father hears your prayers and knows what is best for you and your family. Choosing between two good things is the hardest kind of choice to make.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, Renee. I bet you aren't sleeping now, on top of it all. I hope Becky's solution of doing school gradually would work for you. The only other possibly helpful thing I could add is that if you start school and it doesn't feel right, you can always quit. Or do they gouge your eyes out if you do that?

8 months is an eternity and a blink. That's what sucks about it.

Praying for you--and I hate praying.