Nothing I Wouldn’t Do

When Nigel was diagnosed with autism in 1997, his father and I immediately enrolled him in an ABA-based program that we were fortunate enough to have access to all those years ago. We hadn’t even heard of ABA. But we were steered in that direction by the therapists, teachers, and autism consultants who had identified him, and we went with it. We were surprised to learn of the intensive nature of the program – thirty hours a week with two weekly home visits. At that time we were living at poverty level, so the state paid the staggering costs of the therapy our nonverbal son so desperately needed, and we were grateful.

But had we been faced with footing the bill ourselves, we would have moved heaven and earth to do so. As it was, I went back to work shortly after the diagnosis. My then-husband worked evenings and weekends while I worked weekdays. Even with our nearly opposite work schedules, we still had some crossover time when we both needed to be at work. Nigel could not be put in daycare due to the severity of his autism at the time. We tried a few places and were turned down. There was also Aidan, who was eighteen months old then. My father had recently retired and offered to babysit a few afternoons a week to fill in the gaps, and I am forever grateful for that. My boss allowed me to leave work early when needed, and I am equally grateful to her. We made a lot of sacrifices and relied on the assistance and understanding of those close to us to get through those early years.

At some point, we noticed with dread that Aidan had strong sensory issues and a delay in language development and enrolled him in a therapy program similar to Nigel’s, minus the ABA component. Having two special-needs children with all of their therapies, doctor appointments, teacher and specialist meetings, and juggling work and, ultimately, single parenting was painful, especially when their father moved 700 miles away. But I did what I had to. ¬†And I would do it all again. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my boys.

And I still do. When Nigel was terribly bullied at his middle school two years ago and the administration would not, as I requested, talk to the student body about developmental disabilities, I pulled him out and made sacrifices to be able to homeschool him. When Aidan developed an unknown health issue last year, we racked up innumerable hours scheduling and attending all of the various medical tests he endured and then the surgery, once his condition was identified. But that’s what you do. You do whatever your kids need. And it has become painfully obvious that my boys, now teens, need two things: more time with their father and specialized instruction for Nigel.

Nothing I wouldn’t do.

So I take a deep breath as I write this, as I commit the concept to print: We are moving to Los Angeles. Not next week or next month, but soon. In mid-June, for the past eight years, the boys have gone to visit their father for several weeks. This June, they’ll move. I’m putting my house on the market in about three weeks, and I will join them in L.A. as soon as it sells.

It’s a huge change for all of us, but one that I believe will yield many positive results. Nigel will attend a specialized school for autistic students that will target his lack of executive function. And with his recent announcement of wanting to go to film school for college, we’ll be in the right area for that to happen down the road. Aidan, who has had the hardest time living far from his father, will be near him year-round. And I plan to finally find a job that fits a little better with my English degree, as well as spend time with other family members whom I have missed for many years (I was born in L.A. and moved to Oregon for college).

But I can’t begin to describe how much I’ll miss beautiful Oregon and our family members and friends who live here. I have no doubts that this move is the right thing to do, and that this is the right time, but I have spent half of my life in Oregon, and there is much to be missed. It’s not called “God’s Country” for nothing! Then again, the other half of my life has been spent in the “City of Angels,” and, truth be told, my feelings aren’t too mixed about returning to it. But for now, I’ve got a yard to spruce up and lots of paperwork to fill out.

It’s time.

28 thoughts on “Nothing I Wouldn’t Do

  1. Jess

    Oh, honey – you are incredible. Wishing you all the best of everything as you move and resettle.

    Truly, you are a wonder.

  2. Kim

    Wow–a big change for all of you! You are right–there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our kids. Sending good thoughts your way as you navigate this big life change!

  3. Carrie

    This made me cry! Truly, there is nothing you wouldn’t do for your boys, I see that so clearly. I miss you already, I just like knowing you’re in my state!

  4. fighting for my children

    So the boys are going to stay with their dad till you move up there then move back with you in the new house? Its great that you are willing to move to fulfill their need to be closer to their father. No more long drives either to bring them to dad, you must be so looking forward to that.

  5. Brenda

    Whoa. That is huge! You really do EVERYTHING for your kids. I’m so glad everyone is moving together and teaming up together. You are amazing. Can’t wait to hear the next developments. Can’t wait to hear how Nigel’s new school works out for him. How do the boys feel about the move?

  6. Tera

    Tanya, Go for it! I think sometimes a move is just what we need to get us organised and settled…a fresh start. i wish you luck with the house sale and all that will come as you go through the process of moving, as well as the changes for the boys, and even you. i#m glad theyll have a chance to be closer to dad…for them, and for you too…an extra someone to fall back on who cares just as much. good luck…i mean it sincerely.

  7. goodfountain

    Tanya, you really are a great Mom!! What an incredible change to undertake solely for your boys and their well-being.

    Good luck selling your house!!

  8. Grandpa Savko

    We Savkos in LA are doing cartwheels over your joining us!We’ll do all we can to support your move. Hope you sell your house in one day! I believe this will especially be great for Nigel’s executive function problem and for his future development.

  9. Paulene Angela

    Tanya,

    You are so courageous and inspiring,
    how exciting for you all. Reads a really positive move, it’s almost like moving country, Oregon to LA.

    I agree, in general boys in their teens naturally tend to lean towards their fathers more, mine has, and I’m really happy with this swing.

    Dad is teaching his son all those wonderful demeanours such opening the doors for ladies.

    Please keep us posted and warmest wishes.

  10. Jenn E

    You are a tough courageous loving woman.

    We may be joining you in LALA Land.

    I wish you all good things my friend.

    Love,

    Jenn

  11. Kate

    Wow! What a change – but good for you! It sounds like it will be for the best for all of you. You have had the best of both worlds – you’ve had Oregon, now it’s time to see what LA can offer. I wish the best for you and hope you can sell your house!
    Kate

  12. Holly

    Wow, off to new adventures. It sounds like the right move.. Good luck to you finding a new, better job, and good luck to the boys in their new schools!!

  13. Maddy

    Good grief! I still can’t get my head around ‘moving’ anywhere [keep struggling whether to return to England or not] – it’s bad enough going for 2 weeks every year.

    But I love seeing how the boys are doing since you’re ahead of my curve.

    I sincerely hope that the ‘bumps’ are small.

  14. Cheryl

    We will miss you sooo much, but am excited for you and the boys to have this new opportunity and to be closer to their dad and the rest of your family that is down in CA. It sounds like it’s the “right” thing to do, so I’ll try not to be selfish in wishing that you would stay! :0) Even though we won’t get to see you as much, you will continue to inspire and teach through this wonderful website, and I will be all the wiser for it and will get to hear what you all have been up to! You are truly a remarkable woman, Tanya, and I will miss you, my friend.

  15. Michelle

    WOW!!! What a HUGE huge thing! I just wrote about “the little things” and you have a huge announcement. Sometimes the difficult things are the most worth it! You know we are wishing you a smooth transition! Keep blogging please!!!

  16. Jazzygal

    That is a very brave step you’re taking for your boys! I applaud you. It sounds like you are making the right move…..for everyone. I wish you so much luck with this move and I hope all goes well for you all.

    I am about to write a post and was wondering if it is ok for me to link your recent post on Nigel’s theatre experience??

    Find some time, somehow, to take care of you too! xx Jazzy

  17. Nicki

    Wow! That is definitely exciting news… but I know it is hard to leave a place that you think of as home, and go to a new place to start over. For us, even moving a few towns away this summer was kind of traumatizing! Even though it meant a bigger house and a better school for the kids… just like your move means better services for Nigel and being closer to their dad… it was still hard.

    By the way, my blog has moved because I couldn’t afford Typepad any more! I am now at http://slow-down-gym-shoe.blogspot.com.

  18. Elise

    Yes we do everything for our children. But who knows there may be a wonderful adventure waiting for you in LA as well. There comes a point when you are allowed…

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