Today we had our last visit from Nathan's home service provider. She has been with us since the very start. She has held my hand and been at the other end of the phone, text or emails WHENEVER we needed her. I jokingly called her "my 18-hour bra" because she "provided support when all others would have given out."
There are VERY FEW people on this planet who really "get" Nathan. He is a complex and strong willed little guy who has SO many strengths that most people just don't see. I remember the look on my husband's face when she was talking about Nathan at our first IEP meeting! He was SHOCKED at how incredibly well she knew and understood him! I know God has special plans and that everything will work out for good, but today I am sad that Nathan has lost one of the few strong members in his corner.
I remember when we first started out! We couldn't even get Nathan from the car into the house without an absolute major meltdown. Jessica patiently sat there in our car with Nathan in the car seat, sweating like crazy, with an Elmo doll doing "replays" to get Nathan to make the transition. Once, twice, three times... she played with us outside at the water table, collecting sticks in the parking lot and blowing bubbles in the beautiful weather.
During our toughest times this past April and May, she was the one who encouraged me all the way, right when I was about to give up... and it was SO worth it! Jessica was there at the start, she was a spanish speaker, she did everything she could to help Nathan interact and play with peers at daycare, she came into our home 2 to 3 times a week, she was there at our transition from EI to preschool, she was there during "The Meltdown of 2011," she went with me to IEP meetings and did school observations and consults to Nathan's school staff. She also helped us work through Nathan's GI issues, and she gets the gold medal for tolerating the most noxious smells since Nathan always seemed to "go" when she was here!
I will never forget the day Nathan was having such a hard time we had to, literally, grab garbage bags and put away EVERYTHING in our basement to make a "safe space" for him. I remember the first time I heard Nathan say "Oh man!" just like her... and the time they were playing with the train table and he just wiggled into her lap (something he just DOES NOT do!). During the peak of Nathan's separation anxiety, she sat with us...calming him as I hid behind the door for 1 second and came out... then 2 seconds and came out... then 5 seconds and came out... until he was able to just stay playing with her and I could actually get something done (like taking a shower!).
How do you say goodbye to someone like that? How do we start over??? I can only pray and have faith in the Lord that we will have other Jessicas in our lives. People who will capitalize on Nathan's strengths to help him overcome his weaknesses. People who value his funny sense of humor, receive one of his priceless smiles and wave to him from their car as they drive off. Nathan has gotten into recognizing people's cars. He recognizes 4 people's cars: mine, my husband's, our neighbors and Jessica's car. We can be anywhere and when he sees a car like hers, he yells "red yacaca car!" If there is more than one (which is often the case) he will yell "red, blue, tan, green yacaca car!" Yup! That's what Jessica has become to us. We are closing a huge chapter in our lives today... and it feels like we are starting all over again. Walking by faith searching for peace in this puzzle...