I am looking foward to the fall where I will have one homeschooling and one preschooler. Since we have been returned to a budget of absolutely no extras now, it would be nice if my RN license would be issued so I could start looking for a part-time job. However, even without that, the fall is going to be an interesting time for me. I will have the opportunity to shower attention on my preschooler in ways I haven't done since the first one. I will have the chance to do consistent field trips with my homeschooler that I had to stop years ago because of the chaos of so many children. I'm letting go of the burden and the stress of the child still not 100% up to grade level but nearly there. I'm turning his ESL issues over to the school system. I've had several positive conversations with one of the Special Education teachers and the Special Education department about this son and I am confident they will carry him forward to finish resolving his struggles for me. I will only be carrying the responsibility for the profoundly dysleixic child now. Frankly if he were not Apraxic, Asperger, and extremely high IQ I would turn him over to the school system as well. I think since it will just be him finally, I can give him the attention he needs. I know he would shut down in his grief if I tried to send him to school, though the school system insists they could take on his challenges if I wanted to give him to them. I think they are idealistic but have never met an enigma like this child before, honestly.
We fired our nanny in the last month as well. She had been a personal friend who needed a helping hand in her life. We bartered free housing (and the safety net and resources of our family so that she was not a struggling single mother) in exchange for housekeeping and childcare. She struggled mightily and was often inconsistent in her working, but we continued to try to work with her because she could handle Micah and because we wanted to continue to be the safety net for her children. In the end, she completed stuffed her grief into a dark place inside of her. She forbad all mention of Micah's name in her precense. Grief denied will eat you up inside. When you had pre-existing struggles and you do that, she became a sad practical example to the children of why I insist they face their grief and process even what hurts them. The nanny flaked out and choose to run away from her grief. Even the her of three months ago would not recognize where she has gone now. We had to choose to try to continue to support her, at the cost of my health and well being, or set her loose to sink or swim on her own. I am distressed that I lost a friend. I am saddened that her children have been left to be under the instability her grief has created. However, I had to put my family first. I could not attempt to rescue her and her children (and you really cannot rescue a grown adult against their wishes) or care for my own family. I chose my children over her family. Much as that hurt, it was the only decision that could be made.
The only complication not having a nanny will create is up to two mornings a week when I hope to be coming off nightshift and II has to get to work. He can get the five early bus riders up and off to school. However, he cannot stay at home until I get home. The homeschooler is slightly too young to be responsible for getting a kindergartener off to school, even if I pay him. He may or may not be old enough to babysit a preschooler for a short period of time. There is up to a two hour gap in coverage for the youngest children, which includes getting the Kindergartener off to school. There is a stay at home mother of two preschoolers who lives next door. My plan is to speak to her and see if I can pay her for up to two hours, two mornings per week. II could take all three children to her house. The homeschooler could walk the kindergartner back across the yards to the bus stop and then come into our house to start his schooling, and the preschooler could stay with her until I am home for certain. It would be before she might be wanting to run errands or field trips for her own day, and I know her family rises very early. They go to bed at 6pm and I often hear them up and playing outside by 7am. So, it won't involve her having to get up early to accomplish.
This family is a young, Christian family that is working on adopting special needs children. So, I am hopeful that she will recognize our shared vision and be willing to earn some pocket change. I'm also hopeful she might be willing to earn more than pocket change in the timeframe I will have to work full-time hours to do my training at any job I do secure. I haven't lost my faith in other Christians on a personal level yet. In fact, in personal relationships, Christians have often shown me that those I seek out can and are more than willing to walk the faith they claim to hold. So, I shall see if this family is willing to be of assistance. If not, I will search for a caregiver elsewhere. If she is willing, then that would be the best scenario for my children. I won't have other childcare needs again until next summer when I start preceptorships in my BSN program. My children will be home for the summer then and I can hire my teenagers to assist me in that need. Next fall, we will either be more integrated locally, or we will return to where we came from and our support system there is strong.
We have a church we are going to try. We intended to send II to try it this last Sunday. However, after we moved the nanny's belongings out of the wing of the house she occupied, we decided to do a major shift in the room situation. Thus, we spent the weekend moving all three girs up a spiral staircase into the rooms the nanny once occupied. We then moved the second teenager out of the closet-size room that once belonged to Micah and into the large room that belonged to the younger two girls. The room that was formally the oldest girl's room, and is across from the dining room, is in the process of being converted into the library, and the room that was part of the library (because it was a small room and my books spilled into a back hallway from there) will become the last homeschooler's school room. The homeschooler currently has a hidden reading nook behind the spilled out library. I will be converting his little spot under the spiral staircase into a more formalized and customized nook for him.
Also, since the nanny's two Autism spectrum boys are gone along with their highly destructive ways, I am returning many of the toys into the preschooler/kindergarten playroom that I feared they were destroying before. Without her climbing, curious baby and those boys who needed blocked from my older children's possessions, there is no longer any need for baby gates in the house. Well, almost. I believe the Landlord had dogs with very bad potty manners. My normally well behaved puppy has targetted the room that belonged to E and is now the library with a never ending stream of very bad doggy behavior in there. So, we put up the last baby gate in the doorway. We didn't want a door to the library, but we don't want doggy to have any more chances to damage that carpet or be encouraged in poor behaviors. So, the baby gate stays closed to keep the puppy out of the library. There remains an unlocked plywood gate between the loft playroom and the boys' bedrooms for the same reason. Otherwise, my house is finally open and navigable.
I am overwhelmed with the size and functionability of this house now that it is just our own family. II assures me it is only 4000 square feet, but it feels more like 5000 to me. I have chalenged him to measure the rooms and confirm who is correct. J is hammering that he wants to have Micah's old tiny bedroom. It is very tiny, but J is only three and only has a dresser, a rocking chair, and a toddler bed. It is the empty room in the wing with all of the "big boys" and J wants to be with his brothers. However, it is on a side of the house that is heated by the coal stove and is quite cold at night in the winter. We are trying to convince J to stay next to us, in a room with baseboard heating, through this winter. We're not certain we are going to win the argument. We may instead be stuck stocking up on footed fleece sleepers for todder boy.
We must decide in the next year if we are going to stay here in New England, or return home to the school, and whether II will take the deferrment he holds for medical school or not. Again and again, II and I cannot decide where we stand on this. This community opened their arms to our family as complete strangers. The neighbors have been wonderful. The school district has been wonderful. The schools have been terrific for taking my homeschooled children under their wings and recognizig their talents instead of hearing "eduational neglect" when they heard homeschooling. II's work has been like family to us from the get-go. He has never worked for a more family friendly company, down to the fact that when Micah nearly died in January they purchased him a plane ticket and sent him home to his son immediately when they learned what was going on. They also chastized him for attempting to work under those circumstances. If II doesn't go to medical school, it mght be foolish to attempt another company with our large, special needs family in tow. There was a famous, nasty exchange between II and his (supposedly observant Catholic) boss when we first adopted Micah. The man informed II that II choose to adopt a terminal child. It wasn't the company's problem and they would NOT be allowing him to miss work for anything related to that terminal child's care. That was when we learned how to navigate and file FMLA paperwork, since the man's statement was illegal and insensitive.
However, we're uncertain if the Landlord will be willing to sell this farm to us. When we first rented, he indicated he was interested. He and his wife still appear overly attached to this farm. It is a beautiful farm, there is no question about that. Yet, he has a highly specialised career and the closest place he can work in his career is five hours from this place now. His job was closed three years ago locally. He commuted down into another state for the first two years and last year had to move his family down there since they could not do the commute any longer. Even still, his career makes a lot of money which affords him the ability to potentially cover this mortgage and housing where he currently resides. He is also in his 50s and we fear may have the intention of retiring and returning to this farm. His entire family lives down where he now works. Yet, he refused to allow the local farmer to cut the hay on this property for fear the tractors would put ruts in 9 acres of fields he had rolled to smooth them out for six years. I've never heard of anyone rolling an entire farm of acrage to make it smooth like a country club and thus our fear that they won't sell to us....or just as bad insist upon selling at what they paid for the property which is 1/3 greater than current market value of the place, and thus shut us out from being capable of obtaining a mortgage.
I still feel so much in transition. What life was like after Micah died was something I never let myself consider. So many days, living feels surreal now. Just identifying a church we feel comfortable trying, and realizing that we are now free to test a church again because they cannot reject us over Micah, is overwhelming. Working with helping the children process and grief and move into school is new territory for me. Setting up to go back to work, necessary to help relieve some of the tension in our budget but also to build towards my career goals and to give me an outlet for me is a place I never imagined I would be standing in again. It's impossible to know where we will be in a year, because it's impossible for me to see the future ahead of me anymore. My reality now seems to be in finding how to see that future and see it without Micah in it now.