There’s always tradeoffs when you’re dealing with what’s best for your children, weighing what is in their long term best interests versus the shorter-term benefits and trying to figure out where to strike a balance.
The decision on where that balance is really is different when it comes to parenting a special needs child, and I don’t think that’s something I was ever really prepared for.
For instance, there’s that unexpected tradeoff between recreational cash and the money we’re spending out of pocket (including deductibles and now the portion of the pay that’s on us until we reach our annual maximum) for the Monster’s supplementary therapy. We still feel that the school system isn’t giving him enough speech or occupational therapy, but since we can only do what we can do, it’s just easier to hire outside supplemental therapies and have insurance pick up what it will. The money we’re spending on therapy is money we could be spending towards other things – summer vacations and the like – but in the long run, it is the right decision, even if we’re depriving ourselves a bit.
And I don’t think we’re really missing out on much in that regard. Yes, we’re not going to Disney or buying a partial season ticket package for the Orioles, but there’s things we can do to make those up (such as daytrips to Sesame or watching the O’s on TV).
On the other hand… we’re missing our nephew’s birthday party this weekend.
To date, we’ve not missed any of our nephews’ or nieces’ birthday parties. I’ve lived a good distance away from my own family for a good long time, and our closest nephew, my sister-in-law’s son, lives ninety minutes away. I think family is very important, so I’ve made major efforts to make it to any family event.
However, due to what time camp gets out each day and the state that the Monster is in after his bus ride, we’ve had to move therapy from Tuesday evening to Sunday mornings. (His fatigue just made Tuesdays unworkable – he was entirely uncooperative, and therefore getting nothing out of his therapy sessions since more than half of the session was trying to calm him down to work.) Since ESY cuts the therapy he’s getting even further – they only guarantee half of the service level from the school year, and that’s for four weeks of the summer in total – I made the difficult decision last night that he really can’t miss his therapy appointments over the summer, meaning the trip to New Jersey’s just not tenable. Even if we left straight-away after therapy, we couldn’t make it there in time.
And it sucks. I hate feeling like a bad person for not being able to make it to these things, even when I know that it’s the right decision…