One of my kids has migraines. About six months ago we went to see a neurologist to figure it out. He started on some meds and today we had a follow up appointment. The medicine is working and the appointment should have been pretty painless…but it wasn’t.
First off, I’ve had a rough couple of days. Nothing specific, just feeling overwhelmed by loss, single parenting and lack of sleep. So walking in, I had already been fighting tears since the night before and was on the brink.
Then the doctor started to ask my kid questions. Harmless, right?
“What grade are you in?” Easy enough.
“Where do you go to school?” Easy. “At home.”
“Oh? You’re homeschooled?” Uh-oh. He was one of those. One of the people who feel like they have the right to judge my school choice even though they just met me and have no idea whatsoever what my life, kids or school are like. Such people are exhausting.
So he started – completely inappropriately – grilling us in an exceptionally condescending tone. “So what do you do to get socialization? To make sure you’re able to interact with the world?” Sigh. How is this related to headaches other than it’s giving me one? Politely, I explained that the kids do sports, church and co-op.
What I wanted to say was, “That’s none of your freaking business! Do you ask public schooled kids that? Because I know a whole lot of public schooled kids who struggle to interact with the world a whole lot more than my kids do!”
But I didn’t, because as inappropriate as his questions were, he held all the power. Kids have been removed from their homes because doctors have reported them to social services because they disagreed with them on a medical treatment. I didn’t want to give this man any reason to think I was an unfit parent, because he already thought that by not sending my kids to public school I was doing wrong by them. So I put on my fake smile and tried not to sound like I wanted to punch him in the face.
But he kept going. My child has a learning difference. We’ve had it diagnosed professionally and are using our resources to help him succeed. He’s learning well, adapting and learning to advocate for himself. Somehow, the doctor thought he needed to ask me how that was going. “Is he progressing? Are you getting him extra help for that?” Yes, he’s progressing. No, I’m not getting him outside help. He doesn’t need that right now. I’m his mom. Every single thing I have learned about dyslexia I have learned as a mom. Almost a decade teaching public school and I had exactly ZERO training on it. I told the doctor as much. His response? “Well, I disagree with that. I think that’s wrong.” In his whole ten minutes of conversation with me he had decided that he knew what was best for us. At that point, my smile was gone. I think I said something like, “Thank you for your opinion.”
Still, he wasn’t done. He started asking what curriculum I was using. Again, none of his freaking business! And even if I told him, I doubt he’s familiar with All About Spelling, Orton-Gilligham and the Barton Method. At that point, I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “You’re not going to like this but I don’t care. His dad died in July and right now, school isn’t our priority. Survival is. So we’re doing what we can.” And as I spoke, tears started to stream down my face and I could no longer keep the sobs from escaping. Because now I was sad and I was angry. Six months ago, when we had first met, I knew he wasn’t homeschool friendly but it didn’t bother me. I just played his game and it was no big deal. But today there was no margin and I just couldn’t play anymore. He passed me a box of Kleenex and gave his condolences.
The doctor was a little better after that but I couldn’t stop crying for several hours. We went to Kohl’s and while my kid was trying on clothes, I was texting my mom and weeping in the middle of the store. I quietly cried all the way home while my son took a nap. After picking up my other kids from my mom’s house I dropped them at home and headed to my Bible study. About half way there, truly alone for the first time all day, I lost it. Sobbing, I pulled into the church parking lot and just wept. I was a few minutes late, so everyone else was already in the building. I sat in my car and wailed. This was not quiet tears falling. This was heartache pouring from my body in loud, ugly, pitiful ways.
It felt like I was in the car forever. It was probably less than ten minutes. As I sat there weeping, the sprinkles that had been hitting the windshield became giant raindrops, falling hard and fast, just like my tears. The sky, like my world, shook when the thunder boomed.
As Thy Will by Hillary Scott, and You’re Gonna Be OK by Jenn Johnson streamed through my speakers, I tried to sing along and simultaneously blow my nose. I searched the cars in the parking lot to see which friends were inside. I knew that I could text any of them and thunderstorm or no, they would be out sitting with me in a heartbeat. I seriously considered just texting one and telling her I was sitting paralyzed in the parking lot. But after I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe finished playing, I thought of the words a sweet friend texted me this morning: “You are not…alone. You are not failing. God has a plan…just let Him.”And I knew that in that moment, I needed to be rescued by God, not by my friends. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are amazing. They are fierce in their love and they are there for me. I love them dearly. But ultimately, I have to rely first on Christ. And so I took a deep breath and decided to try to “just let Him…let go. Let God.”
I opened the car door and stepped out into the downpour. I didn’t even try to run into the building or avoid the wet. I just let it wash over me, taking with it the tears and the hurts of the day. By the time I reached the doors I was drenched. No one could tell if my glasses were wet with rain or tears. And even though I couldn’t pray with words, I reached out to my creator with first my sobs and then my actions, choosing to literally walk in faith, knowing that even on the darkest, most infuriating days, I am not alone.