Remember back in November when I was giddy, or optimistic,with the possibility that I found a new sitter? Well, a respite worker really, because that is what it takes to handle children with special needs.Optimistic turned to giddy and then naturally because I had something in place and the world looked to be manageable again, well the universe laughed and my excellent masters student in neurology, well she got Mono and I think she also headed home to Calgary. Dammit! Now, don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for her and hope she gets better because she was all sorts of wonderful. But really truly when my own Mother, ill and too old to watch my little darlings, asked me what I wanted for Christmas recently I said: a respite helper that doesn’t get mono. The joke was wasted. But really wasn’t a joke. You know what I mean right, Annie?! 24/7 is a long time seven days a week. And Holy Frack, everyone deserves a break once in awhile. I was paying mostly out of pocket, because this thing they call Special Services At Home, a program in which parents of kids with special needs are approved for services like respite care providers – who incidentally run around $12 to $14 an hour for kids with special needs – but then linger on the approved list of people for ever without any funding. Well that is where we have been at for three years. And in the name of all that is holy when divorce rates among families with kids who have special needs are stuck high up there in the stratosphere like around 85 %, why oh why must systems and government run, funded programs that purport to help people, make our lives even harder? When last I heard there were 300-400 families on the list in London alone. Yes, you have a child with special needs, or a youth with special needs and yes you qualify foir this pocket of money, but the purse is empty year after year. Oh I know this is a big ole rant. But if your family was borrowing from the grocery funds or the mortgage to pay for a worker at twice the cost of a typical sitter, as many of us do, and was in fact promised that you qualified for a pocket of money that doesn’t exist, well you’d be a bit peeved too. Rant over. For now. Then again wait, do you know Ontario taxpayer that you pay taxes into this fund called special services at home that many of us never get to access? Live and learn.