There is a certain feeling of dread that fills me when I have to meet with a teacher. They will produce unfinished projects, half empty notebooks. They will tell me my child lacks social skills, they will insist on meetings and assessments, they will assure me how very far behind he is. I will feel, useless, like a failure. I will try and help him at home, but his shortcoming is short term memory and mine is patience, and soon trying to help him at home is an exercise in futility. I cry. I cannot even teach my child to read.
This has been the school experience, for me, for 5 years. My son has been failed in so many ways, on so many occasions. It is something I won’t ever forgive myself for.
My daughter, who is seven, has been attending school for a little over two years. School meetings for her have been, fraught. I hold my breath, my stomach in knots, like steel cables all jumbled up inside. For some reason, I’ve never been convinced that she is doing just fine. Today it was better. Today I breathed, I almost cried. Completed projects, full workbooks with near perfect handwriting, AVERAGE scores. FRIENDS. “A little chatty”, the teacher said.
There is a point in which you have to stop pretending to yourself that everything is fine. A point where you suddenly find that you are weeping with joy because your child is average. Because your other one is not.
No matter how brilliant my son is, (and he is) I cannot pretend that these last 5 years of school have not been a living nightmare. He and I have been let down time and time again. He has been pushed down at every step, constantly reminded how much better the rest of the kids are. It will be years before he can look himself in the mirror and not hate the person he see’s.
I cannot pretend, internet, that there has not been a gigantic weight lifted off me, to finally feel, to finally believe that my daughter will not go through the same. To not be faced with meetings and assessments, sheets of goals and progress reports, or having to look at her struggling and think “I’m so sorry, I can’t help you- I’m letting you down.”
I am so thankful for average.