04 June 2007

"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

About three weeks ago, I started working... for the first time in three years.

Day one was tough, I had to be in Oakland early for an 'orientation' meeting, so I spent the night in the bay area so I didn't have to fight commute traffic, and spent the morning crying as I was getting ready to go. My first day back to work, Short Bus's first day at "school," and I didn't get to kiss him good-bye. There was no 'mommy taking him' to the first day of school (daddy doing it is going to scar me more than him, for sure), mommy being there to explain that I'd be back, I'd be there if he needed me, I was 100% accessable to him....and even though I spent the several days before explaining it to him, it still hurt not to be able to remind him that morning.

And, as I'm coming up on my fourth full week of work (wow, that was fast), I still have that mommy guilt. Short Bus's first day of school, and I was busy working. I suppose that's one of the downsides to divorce, I'm not necessarily going to be able to be there for all the 'firsts' anymore...though, I'll be there for some different 'firsts' and that will be great too.

This job is very similar to what I've done in the past, for those who don't know, I work with developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed children/teens. This specific group is comprised of 9-10 teenagers (14-18 years old). The facility is residential, the kids I work with go to school and live on site, they are lucky if they get to leave for an 'outing' once a week. I am one of two "instructional assistants" in the classroom, although for two hours before school I am in the house helping them wake up and get ready for the day, and for an hour after school I sit in on group therapy, and help facilitate the meeting.

Of the 9 kids that I spend my day with; all have mild to moderate mental retardation, 5 have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from some type of abuse in their past, 1 is bi-polar, 1 has dementia (basically meaning she hears voices and has hallucinations), the 4 without PTSD were neglected as infants and toddlers (so much so that they were removed from the home), 4 of them were born either with fetal alcohol syndrome or 'crack babies' (yes, born addicted to meth. how's that for a start in life), 4 have been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (to say they have issues with authority is an understatement), any of these kids could go to juvenile hall with one phone call. We are their last stop. A couple of them have already been, and were sent to us when they got out, because no one else would take them.

All of that sounds much worse than it is. Yes, these kids have problems. But, they are all very functional, they just have some issues with social skills. I did consider throwing my hat in the ring over at tard-blog, but my kids aren't necessarily 'tards'... not in the really funny way anyway. I am planning to write a few 'work' blogs... we'll see how it goes, what comes up. Interesting stuff does happen every day... the question is, how interesting is it? Maybe its only interesting to me...


CamiKaos said...

i hope it goes well babe, a good friend of mine up here at a job very similar.

You're a saving grace.

maria said...

You do good work, that's important. I know the pains of not being there for my kids, it's tough. But we are moms, and we do what we can. Kids may not always understand at first, but they will eventually. Be strong.