It’s not yet 9:00 pm, and all three of my kids are in bed, asleep. I literally don’t think this has happened since Sam was born. Jessie was a more traditional baby/toddler. She went to bed, even if it took me an hour of singing and stories and rubbing her back, and she’d end up in my bed sometime in the middle of the night. The other two – they both stayed up late, and nursed to sleep around 10 or 10:30.

But somehow, all the stars aligned, and all three of my kids (at almost 17, 13 and 9) are all asleep, in bed, and it’s still before 9:00. Jessie has what I’m hoping to God isn’t the flu, and went to bed at 4:00 this afternoon. Her fever is creeping up but it’s still technically low-grade, but she’s achy and exhausted and miserable. Sam was up most of last night, because he’s naturally a night owl and his fan was broken so he was hot and unhappy. But in classic Sam-style, he didn’t want to bother me, so he just laid awake, hot and miserable. He woke up this morning, made it all the way through the day, and was so tired, I tucked him in with a repaired fan by 8:30 and he’s out cold. Julianna, my baby, would happily stay up until 9 or 9:30, but I was hard-core focused, and got her actually in to her jammies and in bed on time.

And so I’m here, husband still at work, dishes done, laundry done, (that’s a lie, the laundry is never done), but I’m at a loss. I spent most of the day trying to figure out how to teach Sam about graphing linear equations, which is a lot harder than you’d think, because I’m not entirely sure myself. Because his vision is so unpredictable, and I’m never entirely sure what he can see or what he can’t, and also because, hello, I’m not a math teacher, I didn’t know that graphing would be a problem. I didn’t even know that graphing would be the next logical step after learning the whole y=mx+b situation.

His poor math teacher is also befuddled and nobody seems to know how to teach him. The worst part is that the only one who seems to know what to do is me – and I know for sure that I don’t really have any idea, other than I’m really good at googling “how to teach graphing linear equations low vision.” It turns out that there’s a whole system for getting equipment, and federal funds put aside to purchase it – but the only way to get it is with a TVI – which he doesn’t happen to have at the moment.

Even with all the complications – I know that TECCA is far and away the best educational situation we’ve had for him, and we were, in the end, able to jury-rig some sort of graph situation, even if he couldn’t see it all the well. He understands the concept of it, and I’m just hoping that’s enough. At least until we get a TVI, get the assessments done, get the equipment he needs and can play catch up.

December was a hot mess of snow storms all over the place, but January has been delightfully snow-free. I could get used to spring for my birthday.

Sam and I are plowing through Connections Academy. We’re still struggling with IEP accommodations, but he’s getting a fantastic education, and that’s what matters.

Fourth grade girls haven’t gotten any less complicated since Jessie was there. It’s slightly easier with Julie, because Julie’s got a lot of friends and seems overall happier at the school, but the politics and intricate relationships seem to really kick into overdrive in fourth grade.

I’m already dreading Jessie going away to college. Excited for her, sure, but mostly terrified of how to pay for it, and how to emotionally handle my baby girl living somewhere other than with me.

It was a mostly good year. Dominated in a lot of ways around concerns about Sam’s education, and climaxed in a dramatic month-long disaster at Forest Grove, but we ended up in such a good place that it’s hard to look back on it and not feel good about how it all turned out.

Jessie ended sophomore year and kicked off junior year, got her first real job, first internship and her learners permit. We started looking at colleges. There was a whole lot of new things going on – and I’m incredibly aware that this is the last full year that I’ll have her living at home with me.

Sam made some huge strides in conquering the anxiety and taking control of his life. Choosing to take solid steps towards a formal education, going through the eval process and starting to take classes at the local elementary school and transitioning to full time at the junior high – these are goals that seemed so far beyond what I was hoping for – and he kicked ass at every one. Even though Forest Grove was a hot mess for him, he learned real skills about advocating for himself, pushing thru adversity and recognizing when one thing doesn’t work out, we don’t give up on the goal, we just find another way to meet it. He’s thriving in on-line school, it’s a much, much better fit for him.

My Julianna Ruth almost seems to have grown up the most, because she really, really came into herself this year. She started off third grade in a class with none of her close friends and ended up growing up so much. She’s much more relaxed and comfortable now, has a huge group of friends that mix across all groups, and academically, she’s at the head of her class. She’s a brilliant reader, has memorized her multiplication tables and is just doing so well, across the board.

I’m not saying that everything is always blissful. Jessie’s got chronic migraines and likes us all to suffer along with her, Sam spends WAY too much time in his room watching Youtube, and Julianna can fuss like there’s no tomorrow. But overall, they’re all NORMAL problems. They’re all thriving academically (and it’s been literally years since I could say that). They’re all healthy (with the obvious exception of the constant headaches) and they’re all relatively, most days, reasonably happy.

2018 was mostly a win.