"I'm sorry you are so unhappy."
I read those words in a very nice private message the other day and they surprised me. I'm unhappy? Since when? I thought about it and I just couldn't find it. I'm not unhappy. I laugh a lot. What are they reading? What are they seeing? They must mean the anger. I'm angry. but unhappy? No, I don't think so.
but... if you're angry, you're not happy... if you're not happy, you are unhappy... I am an unhappy person. Oh, yuck.
Why am I unhappy?
Sitting on the back porch in the warm sun, enjoying the quiet, letting my mind wander, I'm thinking about talking to the Goofy Child's teacher the other day about my desperation to find something to help this kid. I keep searching and searching and keep finding the same solutions over and over. I don't need these same solutions because I have already tried them and they didn't work. I need something new, I have to have something new. There has to be something...
something that will fix my broken child...
I'm looking for a cure.
I am chasing rainbows looking for a magical fix. something that will make my boy be able to read at grade level with a wink of the eye or a wrinkle of the nose. No wonder I'm feeling so discouraged and frustrated. No wonder. I'm searching with all my might for something that doesn't exist.
"The truth is, Miracles are Made out of sweat and hard work. When you approach them with the need for time-lapse photography, you make the miracle into a lie."
When you are told that they make any amount of progress, it feels like they are telling you, "See? I told you he was fine." but I hear what they are saying now. I get it. He's making progress. He's working hard. He's doing everything that he can. His teacher is bringing in whoever she can find to help him. He has a reading specialist. She brought in someone to work with him 1:1 for writing, even though it's not in his 504. It will take time. but they are working on it. he's making progress, step by step he is moving forward. Making progress doesn't mean he's cured of his difficulty with reading, it means that he's making progress. Making progress doesn't invalidate my concerns or his difficulty, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Saying he's making progress is not telling me that he doesn't need help.
I read something recently on bullying and the stages of grief. Ah, here it is, Moving Past Anger. She said, "The 5 Stages of Grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance—sometimes happen out of order, too. Sometimes you go through some of the stages, and regress back to previous stages. But you need to go through all the stages at least once, to get to the final stage."
I think you've been with me (repeatedly) through at least 3 of those since I realized there was a problem last January. I think I'm stuck on anger. In the post I wrote when I realized he couldn't read, I said, "I want to lash out at all of them. I want to blame them. I want to make them fix it. make them do something. I'm angry and I'm hurt and I want them to know it. I want to tell them that this is their fault. I want to tell them that I told them there was something there but they wouldn't listen. They told me he was fine. They told me that it was *just* ADHD. They told me "all kids do that." But they were wrong. I want them to know that and I want them to feel the weight of the blame..." I thought I was past that stage, but I guess I wasn't... or I returned to it.
I know, logically, that the anger is irrational. Goofy reads as well as Alex talks. I'm not angry that Alex is functionally non-verbal because I have accepted that. I know that Alex not talking isn't anyone's fault. It just is what it is. Alex's non-verbal status doesn't prevent him from being absolutely perfect, it doesn't make him less of a person. Someday, I will be there with Goofy, knowing that his difficulty is what it is but that while reading may be harder for him, it is not impossible and his struggle doesn't mean he has no worth, no talents, no abilities.
Understanding the reason for my anger, I still don't know that I'm ready for acceptance yet but having that knowledge is freeing. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I can see clearly not being smothered by the negativity that was squeezing and crushing my soul. Coming to the realization that I am still grieving, I understand better why I am so angry and that might make it a little easier to keep the flames under control. I hope. and to keep faith. Alex can talk. Goofy can read. It's ok. They will get there. I have faith.
Knowing that I am working my way through the stages of grief doesn't change my goals, it doesn't change my plan, but it changes my perspective.
"Miracles happen when you make the impossible possible and are, usually, the result of good old fashioned hard work."
Someday, we will pitch the tent in the living room and fill it with blankets and pillows and my baby will read me a story by the light of the flashlight.
We're just going to have to take it one word, one repetitious sentence, one picture clue at a time.