July 9, 2013

Am I a Failure?

As we drive home after the kids’ yearly standardized testing, the discouragement is so heavy that it almost consumes me.  One of my children has a reading disability, and no matter how many hours I have poured into helping and tutoring and encouraging, no matter how many different methods and curriculums we have tried, the struggle remains.  This test has only confirmed what I already knew:  the progress this year has been minimal.  My despair is suddenly interrupted by the ringing of my cell phone.  My husband innocently asks, “How did it go?”  Forgetting momentarily that my children in the back seat can hear every word I say, I sob into the phone, “I’m such a failure!”

Later that night, I am getting ready for bed and notice a little piece of paper sitting on top of my pillow.  The angular hand-writing is instantly familiar.  I unfold the note with curiosity, and read my child’s tender words:  “Dear Mom.  I love you so much.  You are not a faler.”  I laugh through my tears at the irony of the spelling error.

July 1, 2013

"What Do You Want to Be?"

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  It’s a common question that adults all around the world ask young children, either out of genuine interest or simply attempting to engage in conversation.  “What are your goals?  Who do you want to become?”

A firefighter?  Or maybe a pilot?  How about a teacher or a doctor?  Although the answers will vary greatly, I would be willing to bet that not one child in the history of mankind ever responded, “When I grow up, I hope I get to be the parent of a special-needs child.”   The path is completely unplanned, wholly unexpected, and when a mother finds herself suddenly facing that daunting role, it can be unbelievably frightening and overwhelming.  How can a person succeed at a job for which she is entirely unprepared?  The shoes seem impossible to fill.