The last two days were spent on the couch trying to relieve a migraine headache. Today, when I woke up pain free, I was ready to take on the world. I had great plans to clean, do laundry, and work on a couple blog post ideas I had. Then the call saying I was absent from my son’s IEP meeting brought my morning to a spiraling halt.
When I came back upstairs from putting the laundry in the washing machine I saw I had a missed call. I recognized the phone number on caller ID as one that belonged to the school system. Immediately I thought it must have been the nurse’s office – please, God, don’t let it be the flu. Everyone seemed fine this morning.
Voicemail confirmed it was my son’s case manager. My jaw dropped. The IEP meeting started 20 minutes ago! I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to reschedule it. When the notice came in the mail, and I saw the meeting was scheduled for 8:45 am, I knew there was no way I be there. School bus pick up for the elementary school is 8:40 am.
I have no good excuse for not rescheduling. I moved the notice from the kitchen island to an area on the kitchen counter next to the sink. (Not where it belonged.) The paperwork never made it upstairs to my desk – where I do all of my life organizing.
I called the number back immediately in hopes that they would at least hold a conference call, but of course the call went to voicemail. I left a detailed message with every other sentence as an apology. Immediately my heart sank, and I felt like an utter failure. They must think that I’m a complete jerk and that I don’t care about my son’s struggles enough to show up. Ugh!
I beat myself up for a good hour. Then something clicked. I can’t do this to myself. I can’t let this ruin my entire day. I am fabricating scenarios in my head, and upsetting myself. I am assuming the people attending that meeting (while I was still in my pajamas) were judging me. And, so what if they were? They don’t know me. They don’t know anything about how hard I work to run my household as smoothly as possible.
Anyone who knows me knows that my momma bear instincts come busting through when it comes to advocating for my children. My children know that my life is entirely dedicated to meeting their needs before meeting my own needs. The fact that they know this, is way more important that what complete strangers in that cramped school office are thinking.
To be completely honest, this is not the first appointment I have missed. I have missed doctor’s appointments. I have forgotten about early dismissal from school and left my kids sitting in the office waiting for me to pick them up.
Guess what? That doesn’t make me an awful parent. I’m human. I make mistakes. I become overwhelmed with the “to-do list” and other things are in the forefront of my mind. It just so happens that 8th grade graduation pictures were the same morning, and a trip to the movies for those who made honor roll (that’s my boy!) had been rescheduled for that day too. Since the plan was to reschedule that meeting I didn’t have the meeting written on my calendar with those other items.
The phone call that afternoon from the case manager explained the IEP was being mailed to me, and that I could contact her to discuss changes if needed. The case manager also offered that she was one of four children and that she completely understood the juggling involved in raising a family. It turns out I wasn’t being judged so poorly.
I had beat myself up for nothing. I jumped to wrong conclusions. I was glad she called, and I was feeling much better about the easy resolution.
Know this, ladies: it’s okay to not be perfect. No one is perfect. We are our own worst critics, and we have to stop. Things have a way of working themselves out. In the big picture of things your children know you love them. You need to love yourself too.