Friday, January 11, 2013

When to fight, when to give in? - January 11, 2013

It is just so tiring to figure that out. My mother always told me to pick my battles, and I know she's right.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not fighting hard enough to win some of the battles when it comes to the kid. I want the therapist to do this, I want the school to do that, I want more, I want less, I want something specific - all for my girl. I push back, they push back, and eventually I have to figure out how much pushing I want to do. Sometimes I feel like I'm pushing too hard, even if I "win" the situation. Sometimes I stop pushing and back off and apologize and feel gross. Sometimes nobody pushes and my requests are approved and we all sing a happy song and skip away. (This actually happens pretty often - I'm lucky. I love my kid's team.)

But right now I'm in a situation where I'm throwing my hands up and saying "OK, fine, I'm not fighting. You win. I give up."

In October of last year, I received a form letter to complete the first of two steps toward a renewal application for something for the kid. I did that step. Then I waited for the letter for step two. It never came. The year before, I'd gotten the letters within days of one another so I was confused. I made about 100 phone calls - dead ends, answering machines, live people - and the final answer I got from someone was that it was early but to go ahead and submit the giant Pile of Paperwork as soon as I wanted - that someone even said that the letter now wouldn't be sent out because I'd called.

But there also was a strong implication that this someone was leaving the position shortly...and possibly didn't really care all that much. The questions I asked got very frustrating answers. I felt a bit confused. No, I felt a lot confused.

But better to be early than late, I thought, so I got everything together and submitted the Pile of Paperwork in November. I even got a signed receipt for the Pile when I dropped it off. When time went by and I didn't hear back, I figured it had been accepted. Hooray. Done for another year. Fantastic.

And then about a week ago I got the very form letter I'd been waiting for back in November, asking for...the Pile. Not "something's missing" or "submit it again" but just the basic "Time for your Pile!" letter. Oh.

Now here is the point where I could've fought. I could've shown the receipt to...uh...well...and here is where I stopped wanting to fight. Right there. So I find a person to show that receipt to - I don't even know who that would be, honestly - and he or she says "Yes, that's nice, and I'm sorry, but we don't have that Pile and we need it again." Or I anger someone (you don't want to make any of these people angry). Or I waste precious time arguing that I already submitted the Pile and the deadline creeps up anyway without changing. Or the original Pile is discovered after all, I get some apologies, and the process continues. Who knows.

Instead I cried for about half a second and then I set about printing out everything again (I had a good chunk of it scanned into the computer in case of this very scenario), requesting updates from those who provide such things (unfortunately a lot of what I'd scanned in was already outdated and I needed fresh copies of things), getting signatures compiled again.

I learned from this process that I can turn around that Pile pretty quickly, so maybe I didn't need to worry back in November. Maybe I should've waited. And yet I've heard stories of these form letters arriving late. Or arriving two days before the due date. Or arriving in the middle of a holiday break. It's hard when you rely on a team of others to provide all of the pieces of this project. Everyone has to be available and able to send what is necessary within a timeframe.

(You'll notice that I'm avoiding specifics. That's to protect my privacy and also to avoid bots. But if you think you've guessed, you probably have or at least you're in the right area of the universe.)

I would rather redo an entire project than argue that I already did it, delivered it, and received proof of delivery. That's where my fight is.

And I am obviously still second-guessing that choice. But it's the choice I made. Luckily the kid's team is amazing and the second Tree-Killing Pile of Papery Doom is ready to go next week. Now I know for next year. And the year after that. And the year after that...

But I learned a lot of lessons - including that I can get ahead of myself and that sometimes it's best to let things sit and breathe. I'm trying, anyway.

It's my understanding that our Pile is relatively small, actually...


  1. Hi, found your blog via your comment on mine (thank you, by the way!) and thought I'd pop over here for a browse. I'm so glad I did. However, you're totally scaring me with this pile thing. Because my son is only three years old, and just started therapy last spring and school in September, I don't have a pile that is up to me to keep track of and then show other people. I have piles of doctor evaluations and piles of paperwork from early intervention and the like but not one specific pile that was compiled by me. And needs signatures?

    Yikes. You're commended for redoing it because I might have ripped my hair out, called my husband and yelled at him about it and then cried during the whole reconstruction process. I'm impressed! :)

    1. Aw, don't be scared! While this re-do was frustrating and annoying and time-consuming and...yeah, the overall process (this is my second renewal on my own - I had help with the initial application) was pretty straightforward. If you want, you're welcome to email me (marlatiara at yahoo) and I'll let you in on some of the gory details. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.