California will forever hold my heart for what it offers to my son, but it doesn’t come easy. Moving to a new county means another bout with red tape hell. And moving in the summer means embarking on red tape hell in and around everyone’s vacations. It’s a challenge, but we’re making progress.
I had made an appointment with his Regional Center Service Coordinator for last Monday. This is basically the state agency that puts you in contact with all the other state agencies, and gets a whole lot of pieces moving for you. There are SO MANY moving pieces. From who provides therapy, to where we get Atti’s equipment, to seeing doctors and dentists, to which school he goes to, to paying for all of it, it’s kind of a big deal. And after making the appointment, I promptly forgot all about it.
Luckily most of these appointments occur at your house. They know that travel can be difficult for kids with disabilities, and most kids do better in their own environment, so I didn’t miss the meeting. It just started while I was standing in my bedroom braless while Atti was playing naked on the floor.
I heard the doorbell ring, tossed on a bra and caught our service coordinator as she was walking back to her car. She was kind and understanding and came in to make herself comfortable while I went to fetch Atticus, who had taken off his diaper, peed all over the floor, and then somehow gotten to the drink on my bedside table and poured that all over the place too. I was shouting apologies from the bedroom as I raced to clean things up, put Atti in a new diaper, figure that our service coordinator was already seeing me in my pajamas so she might as well just meet Atti wearing only his diaper, and as I brought him out to the living room I noticed there was blood all over his arm.
The night before I had been working on reupholstering some chairs and while removing some staples I stabbed my thumb with a screwdriver. It went right into the nailbed. It’s gross. And in my rush to clean Atti up and get him out to the meeting, I had apparently opened that wound. It was bleeding so profusely the service coordinator honestly thought we should cancel the meeting and just go to the emergency room.
I brushed her off with a now crazed laugh, tied a bandaid so tight around my thumb that it was more like a tourniquet, and tackled Atti with wet wipes to get all the blood I had smeared on him. The poor kid looked like he had seen things.
She was a pretty remarkable sport and we got down to business while I was quietly dying inside. I explained that since I was a blogger, no bad day was wasted and I now had my blog post for the day. I tried to pull up my site to show her what I was talking about, and then discovered that my internet was dead. Of course.
But honestly, as mortifying as that day was, it’s also an example of one of my silver linings in parenting a child with a disability. When I feel like I am at my highest level of fail, I have a team of professionals around me to put a hand on my knee, look me deeply in the eye and say with a profundity that speaks volumes, “I’ve seen worse.”