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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The struggle was real


Our new living arrangements were tough on all of us, but they were the hardest on Hunter. The move, itself, was so much change, which has always been a struggle for him. He had no privacy, so he felt confined. He also needed to stem. Stemming helps him to relax and think more clearly, and it was very difficult for him to do in our cramped space. Plus, at 6’6” tall, stemming upstairs made my parent’s 100 year-old house feel like we were having an earthquake, so he didn’t feel like he could do much of it. This caused his stress to build. As the summer began to come to a close, we were all in desperate need for some personal space. We were chomping at the bit to get the house done, but it was moving at a snail’s pace.
By early August, we were leaving the summer fun and getting into the swing of the new school year. This school year brought about lots and lots of change. Grant was starting a new school as a 5th grader. It is a small town, so things tend to be a little “clicky”. Most of these kiddos had been together since pre-school and he was the new kid. It wasn’t always easy. Plus, by 5th grade, hormones are kicking in hot and heavy, so there were tons of emotions being thrown around…girls, jerky kids, tears, anger…it was a mixed bag.
 

He joined the cross country team, which really seemed to help him feel like he belonged. He’s not a runner and his endurance wasn’t always there, but he stuck with it.  Math in Indiana is taught substantially different. He had always been great at math, and he suddenly found himself struggling. It really took a toll on his self-confidence.
For Hunter, the school changes were immense. When we decided to make the move back home, we knew that school choices were going to be tough. In our small community, there is only one high school. It is small, which is great, but we just weren’t sure the environment would be right for him. He has always been integrated into the classroom, with an aid and a few accommodations. Schoolwork is tough for him because it’s just not his thing.
The social aspect of things were where we were really concerned, though.  He was coming from a small charter school outside of Dallas, where all of the kids were a little eccentric in different ways. I always joked that it would have been The Big Bang Theory characters high school. It was nice because there were kids from all walks of life; with different interests and with all different educational backgrounds. At first, Hunter felt like he really fit in there. He was on the basketball team. He would go out with his friends to someone’s house or the mall. For a while it was great, he felt like one of the gang. Then, one of his friends moved away, and it all started falling apart. He was no longer getting invited to things. He felt excluded and his heart was truly broken. As his mom, I wanted to call up these kids and give them a piece of my mind, but that wouldn’t have made him look any cooler. Before the end of the school year, we had tried to host some events at our house. The guys came, but Hunter still wasn’t invited to their events. By the time we were leaving Texas, he was ready for a new start.
Moving to a small high school where everyone is rather “clicky” made us very nervous. If he didn’t fit into the Big Bang Theorish High School, than it was going to be hard as hell for him to fit into the small town school. I started looking for options and came across an online public school. It would allow him to take his classes from home, using a Skype-like systems. I wouldn’t have to be his teacher, which would never work. He would have his own teachers and counselors and online homeroom. I would just be like a coach to keep him on track. We made the decision to make this change. He was really excited about the prospect. His social anxiety had been so high about starting a new school with tons of kids he did not know, especially after what he had endured from his peers at school in Texas.  This option seemed to ease his burden.
The beginning of the school year was full of change for all of us. We were still living with my parents. My hubby was still trying to work from home off of my parent’s dining room table. Grant was dealing with the pre-teen stuff and being the new kid at school. Hunter was suddenly at home with me every day and trying to adjust to his new online school, and I found myself in the role of educational coach. All of this was taking place while we were just trying desperately to get into our new house without  losing our stuff...the struggle was real...