The perfect fit...

When I was a kid we lost everything we owned during Hurricane Alicia.  I remember my mother yelling at my sister and I to grab some things right before we evacuated our home.  The carpet was squishy under our feet as water was already beginning to come in.  So like any sensible minded ten year old I grabbed my French phone and my tap shoes.

Yeah, not much has changed about me in thirty-plus years.  I'd probably grab similar useful items today.

After the waters receded and we surveyed the damage we were left with near to nothing.  Since we had evacuated during the night this also meant that my sister and I didn't have any shoes.  Well, I had my tap shoes, but other than that I was shoeless.  Our neighbor had just returned from a trip to Mexico and had brought back several pairs of Mexican huaraches.  They are made of woven leather, and to say that they squeak is an understatement of gigantic proportions.   To me they were the ugliest shoes in all of creation, but to my sister they were the best thing since her polyester Snoopy dress.  She adored those squeaky leather shoes.  They were, in her opinion, the perfect fit.  Did I mention that they are not exactly fashionable?  And they squeak.  I remember the mortification I felt walking into Palais Royal, my sister and I squeaking our way to the back of the store where the shoe department was.

Today I got a phone call from Sara's teacher of six years.  I adore this woman and I think she hung the moon when it comes to Special Education specialists- she is committed to her students and passionate about what she does.  The phone call didn't go well, in fact it went poorly.  There is an upcoming ARD (Sara's last for her public school career) and we are to discuss her transition.  As in transition into "you don't go to school anymore so you need something productive to do- GOOD LUCK!"   Because really, there isn't much out there.  There are a few programs, but none of them are a fit for Sara.  Public transportation unaccompanied by an adult?  I don't think so.  Classes on a junior college campus without an aide?  Yeah, no.  Day-hab/respite care?  Hell to the no.  

It's not that we don't have a plan, we do, but it doesn't seem to fit the school district's definition of "productive".  I am wondering if they know my child as well as I thought they did after being with her for six years.  She's an introvert, does not initiate, but waits for instruction.  She is very trusting and childlike- gullible, so I can't see just setting her loose in the world as a safe option.  She has been working with me in the workshop and seems to love it.  Why can't that be good enough?  Why does she need to "fit" in a position that clearly doesn't fit her?   What happened to looking at the child as an individual?  My daughter was compared to three other students during the course of the phone call.  Three other students that are nothing like Sara.   To compare them was like comparing the opinions of those shoes between my sister and myself.

Navigating the road for her becomes more challenging the older she gets, as I knew it would.  One of the things that comforts me is that I know my girl, I know what she needs, what she loves, and what she wants.  She wants to be around her family, time with friends, nights out, movies, a boyfriend, photography and to create things.  She wants to be happy.  I'm confident that we have found a way to make that a reality for her, even if it doesn't look like what the district thinks "productive transitioning" looks like.

Sara's transition plan is a lot like those huaraches.  You have one side that sees the beauty in the craftsmanship, the simplicity of design, the comfort of the leather.  The other side only sees an ugly, squeaky pair of shoes- that for them are far from the perfect fit.  But for Sara nothing could fit better.


  1. God Bless You & Sara.

    Have you tried your public Library? Our library employs citizens with Sara's special needs as part time & full time aids. If not, perhaps they can recommend something to you and Sara. I'm sure her transition will be fine. Trust and believe! He has not failed you yet!!


    1. I haven't checked yet, but I don't think Sara would dig being in a library all day, lol! She really enjoys being around me and working on projects together, so we are going to stick with that for now. I know up North there are so many more organizations set up, but here in Texas there isn't much.

  2. Good Luck! Libraries are not what they "use" to be! Lots of fun and different activites and program going on daily! At least here in Fort Worth. I hope you find what you and Sara are looking for1

  3. Aw, I love these photos of Sara. She's the sweetest... look at that smile. Praying that you find something that is indeed a perfect fit.

  4. First of all, I remember huraches and I always hated them.

    Second, I was sad as I read your story. As a retired teacher I am appalled that the teacher referred to any other student during the conversation - totally unethical. In California, special education students receive services until they are 21 (or maybe it is 22) and they are given time in different businesses/organizations/situations to find something that works for them.

    I do hope Sara is treated well and you find the correct place for her.

  5. The hardest part of parenting a child with unique needs is the same as parenting any child... being made to fight for what is right for the individual. It is easier when a student, a child, or just people in general conform precisely with what the world sets as "expected", "usual", "standard." BUT our precious children...indeed every human spirit the good Lord created...is NOT made to conform to anything but His plan, His will, His path. I know that our youngest (16) is "very bright", "very capable" and at over 6' looks like a powerful young man... but in his heart he is a lot like your precious Sara...he is extremely introverted, has severe ADHD and Tourette's and suffers from anxiety. He is happiest and most comfortable in small group settings, creating and problem solving on his own. He is very artisitic which is not something the education system here embraces. Photography is his talent and passion. God has a path, a place for him and it is VERY different from what our school district has planned for him to transition to. We were basically "told" what comes next for him after graduation! Nonetheless I stand firm. Phone call after phone call, meeting after meeting. We pray and I remind hm daily we are more than conquerers in Christ. It's very sad we are all "expected" to "conform" to this world. Thankfully your sweet daughter has you! Press on and know you will be in our prayers. xoxo

  6. Your plan for Sara to work side by side with you sounds perfect!!! You know what is best for her. As well meaning as the school district is, they still do not know what is best for Sara. They have a form they have to fill out and boxes to check off and if your plan doesn't "fit" one of those boxes they won't know what to do about it. Just like the rest of society, they may not see the value of working from home.

    I'm so glad to see you trusting your gut and following what you know is right for your daughter!

  7. Y'all, seriously- I am sitting here reading your words and thinking "We really need to meet for coffee!" Thank you, thank you, thank you :)


  9. God is watching over you and your family! Sara is a precious angel and you are very wise to follow your mothering instinct by keeping her close to you and in her comfort zone. It is so hard not to be swayed by outside influences but as the previous commenter states, Mom's really do know best!!! Listen to your heart and know we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for sharing your life!!!

  10. She's beautiful! Love the personality. Love that smile. Who can resist! We have a precious little boy that attends our church who is special needs. He is so happy and he just praises the Lord so freely. He has gone through several heart surgeries and the last one they were sure if he was gonna make it but he came through with flying colors. (God takes care of His little angels.) The preacher was preaching hard and he said, "You know, we are all gonna die." Noah yells out, "Not me!" He knew he had been saved and in his pure heart, he believes that he will always live. And he will:)


Thanks so much for popping in. I appreciate all of your lovely comments...Tricia