OMGoodness!!! Excited, Scared to Death, Can't Sleep... no, I'm not talking about trying out a new roller coaster, but rather a first day on a new job! I have been a stay-at-home mom/ part-time student and employee for many years now and I just started back to work, full-time, today. As if that wasn't scary, exciting and nerve-wracking enough, pretend your new job started in Spain and you only had Spanish in High School! Here is the scoop... I am working at the Indiana School for the Deaf. I took three semesters of sign language, and did well, but I swear to you, it may as well have been Greek! I truly feel completely inept as nearly everyone I met today is a native signer. ASL is their first language, whereas English is mine. Sigh...I know it will come and I will study my heart out until it does. But I will live in trepidation, for fear someone may actually ask me a question- for a few weeks anyway! :) Everyone was soooo patient and kind in their directions today, I just hope I don't exhaust their patience! I am a teacher's aide in a first grade classroom. Besides getting to know some wonderful people and more about the culture that will be a huge part of my daughter's life, I am reminded today of the wonderful feeling you get when you share in those educational "ah ha!" moments with your children. I enjoyed those when we were homeschooing the boys, when they would "get" a math concept or find an answer to a question they'd been struggling with. I got to help some little people with their math today and just so love seeing those big smiles when it suddenly makes sense to them.
I think I will really love this job, if I can wrap my head around and truly internalize the language! The only thing that would make it any better is if it came with health insurance benefits. Sigh... it doesn't. Perhaps in the future, that will change...saying a prayer as that is definitely a need with athletes in the family!
Another thing that happened today was that I got a much clearer picture of what it must have been like for Claire in a mainstream setting... She was surrounded by children and adults who used spoken English as their primary means of communication, while hers was American Sign Language. In one way, she never knew any different, but in another, she must have totally felt like a fish out of water a good deal of the time! The upside was that she wasn't with strangers. She was surrounded by people who really loved and cared about her, her education and her well-being. But there was no one else truly like her and I can only imagine what that must have felt like.
You know what they say about hindsight. We've made so many mistakes along this journey. I'm not sure I see mainstreaming Claire as a mistake, as she did very well in that setting. I just think her journey may have been a lot less frustrating for her had we done it differently. Sigh... But you know, our faith is very strong and we truly believe that God has directed our path. We have met some incredible folks on this journey and learned soooo much. Our lives have been blessed by every single one of them, so no, I don't think I regret it. Knowing what I know now, I might do things differently, but it was the best decision we could make at the time.
Totally just wrote in circles there, eh? Oh yeah..that's just how it goes some days.