I hate to wait.
No one likes waiting, I suppose. Kids resent the time it takes for Christmas and summer vacation to come. Parenting, of course, is all about waiting, starting with pregnancy (and before, for those to whom conception does not come easily). But for parents of children with special needs, waiting has extra weight, because every minute spent marking time is a minute not spent making things better.
Or so we imagine, anyway, as we wait through the "wait and see" period, wait for a referral, wait for an appointment with a specialist, wait for tests to be scheduled, wait to be notified of results, wait for openings in programs, wait for insurance approvals, wait for teams of professionals to make their recommendations, wait to see if one thing is going to work, wait for a referral to another thing, wait and wait and wait.
Once our kids are school age, there's a whole 'nother layer of waiting, waiting for the first day of school, waiting for our kids to report in when they get home (ha! as if), waiting for notes or calls from teachers, waiting for back-to-school nights, conferences, IEP meetings (ack!), calls from the principal. Once again, our waiting has more urgency than most parents', because we know all too well how important it is to hit the ground running, get modifications and accommodations perfect from the get-go, start communicating with classroom personnel on Day 1, respond quickly to scheduling and personnel problems, stop trouble before it starts. And yet it seems we're always waiting for that shoe to drop.
This week, I'm waiting on a phone call about a glitch in my son's schedule. Last week, I was waiting to find out the timing of his after-school internship, which come to think of it, I'm still not all that sure of. I can't wait until he graduates and I can stop phone-stalking special-ed personnel and worrying about what goes on in that building every day.
But of course, as I've learned with my daughter, graduation doesn't end the waiting. In college, you have to wait a whole semester to see how things are going. You have to wait for accommodations to be approved, wait for grades to get posted, wait for your student to get home safely, wait extra years for remedial classes, wait and see if it's just more marking time to a point where there will be no job.
The waiting may not really the hardest part, but it certainly seems to be the longest.
Terri Mauro blogs at About.com Parenting Special Needs and Parenting Isn't Pretty. She has two terrific kids, a 21-year-old with learning and language disabilities and an 18-year-old with FASD, both adopted from Russia in 1994.