When Your Child with a Learning Disability Makes the Honor Roll....THAT.
By Suburbia Interrupted on November 21, 2012
I am sitting here staring at the computer. I should be folding the load of laundry that has been sitting in my dryer for two days now. I really, really should be doing that since I have a load of laundry in the washing machine, two more loads that need to be washed and I have literally restated the dryer three times today. You know, to get the wrinkles out so I can fold the clothes. Yet, the clothes are still clumped in the dryer, getting wrinklier by the minute and I am still sitting here, staring at the computer screen. I feel like doggy do-do. I have lost my voice. The kids are home. The three little ones are doing gosh knows what outside and the big kids are curled in their beds, dying from the colds they have as well. I would love to know why in the world the male population cannot handle a cold. They get the tiniest sniffle and they are bedridden for days. Us women get a cold and we suck it up and go on with our day. I guess it is a really good thing that we women are the ones to give birth. The human species would have been extinct thousands of years ago if the roles were reversed. I had three natural childbirths. No med. No nothing. One of the darn kids even decided to grace me weeks early, on my bedroom floor. In his unbroken water to boot. That was a fun experience. I hadn't felt good all day, so I decided to load up my then three year old and drive to the hospital, where I was told it was just false labor. An hour later, before the paramedics got to the house, out popped this little baby in his sac.
That little baby is now nine. He is our sensitive kid, our will do anything for anyone kid. He is our child with a learning disability. I have chronicled my struggles to get him the help he deserves. I have written letters and held meetings with our superintendent, our school district higher ups, and every one else in between. Throughout it all-the struggles, the frustrations, the tears, this little boy has not given up. Yesterday, he brought home his report card and I cried. And then I cried some more. He made the Honor Roll!!!!! Holy shit he did it!!! He got all B's on his report card. To say I was the happiest mother alive would be an understatement. To say that our nine year old was so freaking proud of himself would be an even larger understatement. He made the gosh darn honor roll. I am still in shock. I am still getting teary over it. Part of me thinks maybe this is it, maybe we passed a threshold and all the sudden things are starting to click in his head, that he can now grasp this reading stuff. And then a small part of my head knows that his grades are weighted. He doesn't do as much work as our other third grader does. I hope him getting the B's doesn't make the school think he has been magically cured of the learning disability I am still trying to fight the district to test him for.
And then I tell myself to shut off my brain. Ignore whatever side notes I am making about this huge accomplishment. I need to stop worrying about the aftermath of this new milestone and just enjoy the moment. I need to focus on the fact that my nine year old boy, made the gosh darn Honor Roll. I think I may still be in shock. I never thought this would happen. I never thought it was possible. I have hoped and dreamed and wished it, but I am not sure I ever expected him to achieve it. But he has. He did it. And I cannot explain in words just how much I love that kid, how proud I am of him, how proud I am to be his mother.
I have learned a lot since I had him. He was a very sick child, starting a week after he was born. He was needy and different from the other kids. He was behind when it came to reaching milestones. I had that gut feeling that something was different. I would bring him to the doctors. I would say something isn't right. I would protest all the asthma medicines the doctors said he needed, but I never listened to my gut. I went along with the doctors who kept assuring me that the medicines were safe and the good old stand by excuse (which I loathe) he's just a boy and boys are slower than girls at this age. If I could go back in time, I would handle his whole array of medical issues so much differently than I did. But I can't go back. And whether the medicine caused his learning disability, helped contribute to it or if it was just the luck of the draw, I can't change the fact that my son does in fact have a learning disability. I wish I could fix him. I wish that I could make his struggles and tears and frustrations just go away. But I can't. I have learned and researched and done everything in my power to stand up and fight for him. I have spent sleepless nights in my bed, thinking of new ways to make him want to read. I have researched techniques. I have read the state statutes as to the rights he has a child in the public education system. The thing is, no matter how many books I have read, no matter how many laws I have researched, no matter how many meetings have been held, my son has taught me more than anyone/anything else has.
He has taught patience. He has taught me trust. He has taught me to look at everyone in a new light. I never struggled in school. I was one of those kids who never had to study for a test. I could write a report in an hour. School was easy for me. I didn't know any different. Our other kids do not struggle in school. Hell, one of the seventh graders is taking his SAT next Saturday. Our nine year old has taught me to slow down. He has taught me that no matter what, the one job we as parents have to do is protect our kids by standing up for them. No one out there can or will be a better voice for your child. As parents, we may wear fifty different hats, each representing a job. None of those fifty jobs will ever be as important as you being there for your child, to support, listen, advocate, and love. And if you support, listen, advocate and love, your child will respond. It may take time. It may take bumpy roads and unpaved trails, but they will respond. And they will succeed. And they will make the Honor Roll. And then the next school day will roll around and the struggles and bumps and unpaved trails will be back, but this time, you and your child have something to strive for. You both have something to hold onto and grasp and say see, you did it and you can do it again. You and your child will have that glimmer of hope, that has been desperately missing.
And let me tell you, it feels so fucking awesome.