The other day, I had a chance to have a coffee with Janneke. Well, I had a coffee and watched Janneke wander her room. She would spin in circles - and then pause to look up, as if something significant had caught her attention. I could only guess what she might be thinking as she hardly made any eye contact with me, choosing to stay in her own little world.
Watching her made me think about how I wander through my days as a parent of four very different kids. Finding that balance of doing ordinary parent things with the unique bits that come with parenting Janneke and Rachel is tricky. I get tired of bridging that gap between normal and not-normal, and I get tired of trying to guess the thoughts or frustrations of Janneke and Rachel. It still surprises me when I get frustrated with Rachel because she's frustrated with me; we both aren't "getting" each other.
Both girls are healthy at this writing, and I am grateful this winter has been much easier on the health front than last winter. Having the extreme cold temps makes for long, indoor days for the girls, but we welcome the sunshine streaming through the big windows.
This month, decisions will be made about where Janneke and Rachel will attend school in September 2014. Each year, the Niagara Children's Centre School reviews their students case-by-case, and they decide whether or not the children are ready to try a mainstream school or continue with another year at the Centre school. Each year, we have wondered what the next year holds for their school plan. We can only hope that those initial decisions made for us by the Centre teams will empower us to make wise choices for the girls' coming year - whether Rachel and Janneke return to the Centre school or consider a mainstream alternative. Intimidating, to say the least. We love our girls, and it has been a relief to have them at the Centre school where they (naturally) understand special needs and unique kids. We know there are many great situations out there for our girls in the big world, but just thinking about communicating with a new school team makes my head spin.
I'm going back to that coffee with Janneke and join her in that little world of hers.
Peace for your week,
For all the hype that led into the Olympics a few weeks ago, there remain glimpses of excitement for the Paralympics. I didn't pay much attention to these games in the past, but now my kids are shaping my thinking and my interests. When I was younger, I aspired -or at least thought it would be cool- to be a figure skater or a ski jumper in the Olympics, but I missed the chance to desire the incredible resiliency in the athletes set to compete this coming weekend's Paralympics. Here's a snippet on cbc.ca earlier this week about an athlete from Dundas.