Thursday, August 9, 2018

Eight Times Harder.

I posted a rant on Facebook today. 

And as my supportive network has rallied around me by clicking the like button, the love button and the sad button....they have left comments urging me to start my own consulting firm to help other families like our's. And I am left wondering exactly what that looks like, exactly what I would say. And if I am over-reacting about this whole process -- the process of arranging for Benjamin to live on campus for his senior year -- by saying I am having to work eight times harder than parents of non-special needs children.

And if there is anything I am certain about, it is that I am absolutely 100 percent correct in saying we work at least 8 times harder and we should NOT have to. 

I understand that because my son uses a power wheelchair to roll through life, we DO require some special considerations. We require access to buildings, for example. We require access to rooms -- bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. So while I would really (really really) love a world where we just built accessibly, that isn't a reality. The men's single dorm on Benjamin's campus when he started his freshman year had a ledge to the community bathroom that required you to step up and over. That was ok, though, Benjamin (nor I) were quite ready to try independent living.

Over the course of that year, however, the university built an apartment-style dorm that DOES have accessibility. And we began to dream and hope and wonder what it would look like if Benjamin lived on campus. 

Last spring, Benjamin and I finally felt like we were ready to at least begin the conversation with the university.

I am not going to lie, I wanted the meeting to go something like this:

"We have been hoping you would want to live on campus, Benjamin! We have the apartment ready. Tell us what else we can do to make this happen."

Obviously, if I am writing this post, the meeting didn't go that way. 

Benjamin has done the work to be successful in college. He loves that campus. He loves his fellow students and the professors. He has taken large loads every single semester and he has been successful. He has been successful not because it is easy but because he is willing to work harder hours, longer hours, and through all the obstacles.

He has been successful because he accepts that he has to work at least eight times harder than his friends. At least.

And so even though I don't think it is right. And even though I know it can be done better and with more ease than is currently happening. I will continue to push forward. I will follow Benjamin's lead. I will work eight times harder. More if necessary.

Rest assured -- I'll keep you posted about the housing and the consulting firm! ;)

Carol - The Blessings Counter