So long, Crossroads (a neurotic mother’s story, father’s story would be very different!)
To be truthful our Crossroads journey started when our son was 3 and in Grade 000. His teacher told us that he was very fidgety, didn’t follow instructions and rarely completed tasks! His art work was immature and he could never wait his turn, he talked incessantly. Surely this is how all 3-4 yr olds behaved? I was in complete denial. Could this precious, perfect child be ‘not so perfect’. This did not fit in with my plans for this child, the youngest of 3 children. At the time his brother was 18 and his sister 21 years old.
After 3 years at a mainstream pre-primary I was forced to admit that maybe there was a ‘problem’! So we made the appointment at Crossroads for his assessment. I was devastated, to say the least! I already hated the place, it was not a ‘pretty’ school and I assumed that all the kids were ‘Ritalin’ robots! ( I am sure you already hate me, but bear with me here, please!)
After ‘to’ing and fro’ing’ from Montessori to Waldorf, home schooling to Remedial, we eventually settled on Crossroads. And so began our journey….
It was with a seriously heavy heart that I drove the 16kms from Woodmead to Linden and arrived for our 1st day of Grade 1B (Mrs Buttemer). Drop offs were painful, my son would run after me, crying ‘ mommy don’t leave me’. I used to wait with him till classes started, then leave. This carried on for a few weeks and it was recommended that I see Mrs Rosenthal (the Clinical Director) at that time. She and I met a few times and at the final consultation she informed me that ‘your child is fine, his problem is YOU! You need to let go, make him feel that he is in a good place, that Crossroads is great’! The second rude awakening that I got was from Mrs Batwell who asked me one morning ‘what part of drop and go do you not understand’! Wow, talk about honest, talk about making me sit up and take note!
I am proud to admit that I had a massive change of heart and took a moment to mourn the end of the ‘perfect child’. I had changed my outlook and my child was able to be at school without worrying about how I felt! Yes, children are intuitive, they pick up on all our emotions and feelings. ‘Perfect’ is an individual perception, different for every person.
During the 7 years that he has been at Crossroads he blossomed, he bloomed, he loved school, he loved all his teachers and therapists. Every teacher brought out the best in him, encouraged him and taught him the life skills that he would need to succeed in life. They tolerated my ‘over’ involvement. There were a few hiccoughs along the way, that is inevitable with these special children. Crossroads was there for every hump and bump in the road. Issues were dealt with, everybody worked hand-in-hand and doctors’ recommendations were accepted and implemented.
As a family we got involved, my husband joined the PTA, I was a class mom, I got to know all the teachers, therapists, ground staff and the wonderful ladies in the office. I am proud to say that I think that I only missed 2 Crossroads events, one when precious has chickenpox and one where the Movie Evening clashed with my Year End Book Club! (Dear husband and precious were there,even if I was not!) I volunteered to be class mom every year, I loved getting to know the parents in each class, I was giving back, I was so grateful to Crossroads.
We survived the upheaval of Head Mistresses / Masters joining and leaving, we survived the change in teachers and therapists. I could honestly say that Crossroads was actually the best thing that could have happened to our precious son, and ourselves. I have learnt so much about myself and my awesome son. He has learnt life skills, how to be tolerant of everyone, despite their disabilities, how to assist others in need and how it’s okay to be different.
So now we move on to mainstream, high school, new school…. Okay, we can do this!
(Sent from Cheryl’s iPad)