Photo from 2009
I sort of forgot it was Valentine's Day. I find that odd, as I did remember to bring Valentine's cards for J-man to hand out to the other kids at his program. Made a point, in fact, to go back into the house and get them before we left. But at a late afternoon lunch with Big Daddy, he said ... sorta as a side note..."oh Happy Valentine's Day". And I went "yeah... I kinda forgot. There is a card for you in the drawer at home....". And we both wrinkled our noses and laughed.
We aren't anti-Valentine's Day. While there is plenty of reason to think Valentine's Day is just this made-up-marketing-buy-candy-and-jewelry-holiday, I also see nothing wrong with celebrating love and romance. Taking one day out of the year to just be sweet to each other. It's cool with me. We just didn't really do that this year. This year seemed to be a "we love each other everyday" kind of year, with no special pressure one way or another to somehow prove it today.
So instead of roses and romance, how did I spend my day?
Well, last night our Miss Dolly had to go in for emergency surgery. She had an uterine infection, and it needed immediate care. I spent pretty much the entire evening at the vet with her, getting home after midnight and getting up far too early this morning with a very cranky J-man. Big Daddy fetched a very tired and sad little dog home while I delivered J-man to school. Cranky. Then I spent about an hour in a meeting with J-man's OT, discussing his latest evaluation and new plan of OT action. It involves pencils and fine motor skills and feeding. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
After the rather productive OT meeting, I embarked on my
newest folly of epic proportions project. Somehow... and I am still not exactly sure how this happened... I got suckered talked into helping spearhead a group that is trying to get insurance coverage mandated for individuals with autism in my state. Right now 29 states have some level of mandated coverage... and Minnesota is not one of them. What this means is that very few private insurers will pay for any therapy or services for autism (ABA, Speech, OT, whatever is needed), and that most families have to turn to the state Medical Assistance plans to get any coverage whatsoever. And that coverage is extremely difficult to obtain... lots of hoops, lots of hoops. It is a dicey situation, and one in which I want to help rectify. And now, suddenly, I am in this position to help recruit and organize people to write, call, and visit their legislators at the Capitol to try and get some legislation passed and policies changed.
Dude, I am just a mom!
Here I am with this little team of people, starting a Facebook group, making up a website, having phone conference calls and today... today I went to the Capitol and had my very first meeting with my Senator. I told him our story and showed him videos of J-man's progress. Talked about the issues specific to us right now. He asked questions. I answered some of them... failed some... and promised to get back to him on those things I could not answer.
Dude, I am just a MOM!
But here is the thing... even though I believe that 'politically' he was not one to likely support issues like public insurance or putting mandates on private companies or etc etc etc... you know the drill... when he saw the changes in J-man on video! How utterly amazing he is! When it was there, in his face, and I said to him : we are the lucky ones. We get to have this because my employer is knowledgeable and understands its importance. There are so very many who DO NOT GET EVEN A CHANCE to see if therapy could help them....
I know it made an impression. I could see it in his eyes. I think that when this issue comes up again for him, he will not disregard it or shrug it off. He will remember J-man, the little boy in the video, and he will spend a little time learning more and being open to the issues. And maybe... just maybe... help be part of a real solution. That is the power of telling your story.
So I guess that is why I got
suckered talked into doing this crazy stuff. Because in the end, if I am not part of the solution, who will be? I might be 'just a mom', but I am J-man's mom.
And J-man matters.