I am a divorced single mom to two incredible little boys. They are both extremely imaginative and caring. They are both amazingly smart and curious. One can build the most amazing creations out of Legos, including transformers without any plans. The other can take discarded items and build amazing tools and weapons. Being their mom is my most important and most loved job in the world, but its also not the easiest job. Both of my fantastic boys have barriers to learning and even to living a typical life.
My oldest son is Shaynen. He is incredibly smart. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased as his mom. He’s been reading high school level since about 3rd grade. But traditional school has been hard on him and has led to countless doctor visits which have led to many diagnosis. First were ADHD and Sensory Developmental Delay followed by dysgraphia and some time getting speech for articulation issues.
My younger son is Rethan. He is also very smart, but he often feels that he is dumb because he can’t read, YET. I always remind him to put “Yet” in there. He has very, very severe dyslexia. He is just able to read most cvc words. This is not for lack of trying on his part or his teachers. He also has Sensory Developmental Delay and very severe ADHD which was diagnosed when he was 4 years old. The doctor said that they usually don’t diagnose that young, but there was no question. That wasn’t his youngest diagnosis though. He started speech for articulation issues when he was 18 months old and continued until he was in 4th grade. He also has dysgraphia (writing) and dyscalculia (math).
So overall I had my hands pretty full as a single mom or so I thought. Then in 2015 I fell and shattered my radial cap. This resulted in several days in the hospital and elbow surgery to replace my radial cap, 2 wrist surgeries and over 2 years of physical therapy to get most of my motion and strength back in my right arm (yes I’m right handed). During that same time I had 5 more unexpected procedures which included another hospital stay.
During the same time that I was fitting in up to 3 physical therapy sessions a week I was taking my sons to many doctor appointments as well. They received more diagnosis.
My older son, Shaynen, had been having periodic black outs. This led to a diagnosis of dysautonomia (similiar to POTS but without heart rate increase) for his presyncope. Pretty much all of his automatic systems just don’t always work right. Talking with his occupational therapist led to a year long journey for a diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos (HEDS). These were followed by clinical Anxiety for him, as well. All of these combined with adults and kids that didn’t understand him at school led to miserable days at school and very little learning, but I had to work so he had to continue trying his best to learn in the traditional setting.
His brother, Rethan, was also diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos (HEDS) although it does not seem as progressed as his brother’s. A Tourettes diagnosis along with Anxiety and OCD helped put much of his disinhibition and rage issues into perspective since these are commonly found with Tourettes. Although he had a special education teacher who did her best to help him at school there was really not much understanding overall for his tics and meltdowns.
Then I was laid off from my job because I was not able to do my job due to the elbow injuries still not healing. I did not have enough hours to qualify for FMLA since I worked only 36 hours a week and had summers off.
This is not how I had planned for life to go.
It made me realize that the future is fragile.
We decided to do several things we had wanted to do for a long time instead of waiting because you never know what the future holds.
I got a job working online teaching English to children in China.
- I pulled my boys out of school and started homeschooling them.
- I bought an RV and my boys and I moved into our RV. We will be traveling and learning together in our RV now.
- We started a youtube channel to share our adventures and experiences with others
We’ve only just started on our journey. In fact the RV has spent more time in the shop than us driving it, but we are loving our time together and looking forward to being on the road living and learning together.
Update at 1 year:
Since we have been on the road I have shattered the radial cap in my left arm. Another surgery to replace the radial cap and repair internal damage. Lots of physical therapy again. It all starts to make more sense though when I was also diagnosed with a Connective Tissue Disorder NOS (Not otherwise specified). Shaynen has also been diagnosed with Tourettes as well.
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