Thursday, January 29, 2015

I have to be my son's biggest cheerleader, his biggest supporter and the one who looks out for his interests at all costs.

So if the paparazzi had been following me a couple of weeks ago they would've snapped a pic of me on a freezing cold, rainy day, running from the grocery store with an arm load of fried pies.

Because I.....

a.  love my kids so much that when one calls me while in the return line at Target and asks if I can go here to there and beyond to find him a fried apple pie like they sell at the local burger joint, I'm a pushover for a sweet voice in the midst of other things that aren't much fun

b.  obviously have a careless disregard for the health of my kids and will on occasion feed them things that might someday kill them.

c.  thought carrying an armload of pies would be better than paying the new city fee to get a bag.

d.  all of the above

But the truth of the whole thing is that the kid that called and asked me for the pie just holds my heart.  Except for when he doesn't... like this morning when he gave me a big ol' whatever mumbled under his breath to something I said.  And at that moment I questioned if he's too old to take back to the baby store for an exchange.  

(I used to joke in my darkest hours of mothering toddlers and little ones that I was going to drop off  the kids at the fire station - sadly, like an unwanted newborn... but the funny truth is that I can and have dropped off a bad kid or two at the fire station with daddy and had him handle it so I could drive away quickly before my brain exploded.)  

But kid 3 holds on to me like nobody's business and this week my heart has felt the burden of the weight that he carries every day.  Every day as a public school student with a learning difference that just doesn't fit into the box that public school tries to squeeze every kid into.  And don't get me wrong.... I have loved our elementary school and my other 2 had nothing but good and successful experiences in education in their early years.  So don't take this as a parade of public school bad things.  There is so much good to be had that I just can't stand it.  BUT.... you must be a good match.  And you just won't know till you try it.  Like a blind date.  

And I won't go into detail about this week because y'all have heard it all already.  And nothing giant in particular, just small thing after small thing that ends up adding up to a week of big things to an 11 year old and his parents.  And when all roads lead back to the school day, that's when I as the parent must speak up on behalf of my kid.  

And I'm not saying to make excuses for things and get him out of holes he himself has dug.  But when it comes to pointing out special accommodations and the unique learning needs of your child, there is no one going to stand up for him like you can.  And it's hard - and even a bit weird - to be the one who speaks up against authority in the name of your kid.  But we have to.  I have to.  

I have to be the voice that reminds those in positions of influence over my child that sometimes he just isn't going to be the same as the other kids in the class.  And that sometimes he might take more of your time than what you planned.  And sometimes, you may just need to take a big breath before you speak and scar the heart of a child that has looked at you with big eyes and giant hope and given his trust to you because you are, after all, his teacher.  

So this week I had to remind some people that there are some things that just can't be said.  And some things just can't be done.  And that some kids just don't fit into their box.  Not today, maybe not ever.  But I had to be the voice that stepped out of my comfort zone and stood up for my kid that can't, at this time in his life, do it himself.  

So parents... we have to.  We have been charged with the task of protecting not only our kids' bodies but also their hearts, minds and spirit.  The spirit of a little one who can't understand the negatives around him till he has been fed way too much of it at too young an age.   And you alone know that kid better than anyone, second only to the God of his making.  You alone can be the voice to combat the negative and in so doing, teach him to one day do the same for himself and for his own kids.  

I have to be my son's biggest cheerleader, his biggest supporter and  the one who looks out for his interests at all costs.  Until he can grow in maturity and strength to do it himself.  And I have to keep telling myself that even when I feel like I've bucked all normal parental behaviors by speaking up to a teacher or other person in a position of authority, I have to remember that for now, I am his voice.  

post script.... to kid 3, my sweet Sam, giver of endless hugs, kisses and I love you's.   I hope one day this letter can be a reminder to you that you are so much more than tests and grades and notes from teachers.  Yes, you learn a little differently than others.  And that can be a beautiful thing.  An opportunity, even,  to see things in this world that the rest of us are too busy to notice.    You are a forever smile that I want with me everywhere I go.  You are bright blue eyes that see the good in others.  And you are a heart that continues to believe that good things happen. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Kristi - You do, at times, have to be the voice for Sam...until the day he has grown in confidence and knowledge and is able to be his own advocate. And, he will get there! I love reading your words because they entertain, encourage and teach me to stop and think. I agree that it's our responsibility to protect the hearts, minds and spirits of our children. Your words remind me that as a Sunday School teacher, school librarian and frequent mom volunteer for sports and other activities, I also have a responsibility to keep an eye out for all children I come in contact with - ones who perhaps don't have someone at home who is their "voice". Thanks for writing!

  2. Christi Harris -LazaroJanuary 30, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Support you 100%


Love your comments. Leave Your comments.