I felt the earth tilt a little a my resolve crumbled around me. Dizzy. Nauseous. Mad.
Most of all, sad. I had spent days preparing for this meeting. Knew the law well, knew I had rights. It all laid poached like once hopeful animals at my feet. I had nothing left to say. No fight. They won.
And it isn’t me that lost. It’s my daughter. My beautiful, three year old completely non-verbal daughter. Abby doesn’t even babble. Yet here they were cutting the time she would have in a language rich environment in more than half. Cutting speech services. Why? Because they could. Because the law let them. Because at the end of the day, they’ve met their bottom line and my daughter isn’t worth anything extra than the bare minimum. Their dollars are better spent on a child that excels than a child with Down syndrome and autism.
At least, that’s how it felt. That’s how it hurt. I couldn’t hold back. My advocate skin had been too thin, the parent-the mother- was all that was left. I was reduced to a quivering lip that betrayed me. I broke down. I sobbed. And then I did something that I truly regret:
I apologized for the tears they caused.
I apologized for tears that showed the damage they had inflicted- like apologizing for the blood that spills from a bullet wound. I apologized.
I won’t ever do that again. I’m done apologizing for feeling hurt when people hurt me. I’m done holding back tears for the safety of my car or home. I’m done pretending everything is all right when everything is not. all. right. My life is beyond hard. I can put any spin you’d like on that. I could finish this post with some resolve and some “everything happens for a reason” bullshit, but I won’t because it’s not honest. It’s not me. It’s not real to what I’m going through.
I could not publish this because I know damn well that the district reads my blog now. But I am going to publish this for the same reason I cried in front of them and for the same reason I will never apologize for tears again: TEARS ARE HONEST.
No more. No more crying in our cars after someone says horrible things to us in a grocery store. No more apologizing to the person who caused our tears. No more feeling like we are weak for loving our children so much that our emotions take over. It’s in these times, in the times that we have the courage to break down, the courage to show how deeply we’ve been hurt, how deeply we care, it’s these times where we are our most brave.
Promise me, too, that you’ll stop holding back and apologizing for tears that were not your fault. Promise me that you’ll let people feel the full weight of their actions as they flow in tears down your face. Promise?