I went to a meeting at school earlier this year about my gorgeous boy who is doing a second run at prep. We have 2 older boys who are breezing through the schoolwork (well, mostly) and any meetings about them are about the usual boy things – behaviour standards, not using their hands, pushing others. The stuff that happens.
But that day, it was something else. I met with the psychologist at school to talk about some testing that I knew had been happening for our 3rd boy. The psychologist walked me through the testing, and was so kind, and kept checking in with me by making eye contact, and I started to wonder on what was coming.
And then. BAM. There it was. Words that I was completely NOT PREPARED for. “some of this testing is consistent with a children having an intellectual impairment”. I heard what he said. I truly did. Not that he has an impairment. But that his tests results were consistent with that. A big distinction. I work in the art of defining and discerning the difference with words. I heard the distinction. And yet, I still started to cry.
I tried to stop crying, so that he could keep talking, because I needed to hear more. And so, I pulled it together. I remember saying to the psychologist “I’m OK. I’m just crying. Keep going. Please”. When we were finished, I left the school, drove to the end of the road, and called my husband. By then, I was crying so hard I couldn’t even get the words out. Poor Dean, he was so patient, while I tried to collect myself enough to share what he, as a parent, needed to know and was news for him as well. Looking back, that was so selfish of me. To ring him in that state.
Well, for days, all I did was cry, whenever I replayed that meeting. I kept feeling like things had changed. Like the world had stopped. My internal talk went like this “I knew he was behind the others, but I always thought he would catch up. What if he doesn’t?”. Cue more tears.
And then suddenly, I realised that the world was still turning. I realised, he was no different than before that meeting. Nothing had changed. For him. I was simply catching up with what had ALWAYS been the case. For my boy. For my sweet boy who sometimes looks so confused, and other times is just so smart and cheeky that he leads us all into wholehearted smiles!!
So, for a while, I pretended that the world stopped. And then, when I got out of my way, out of my son’s way, I realised it was all OK. It was precisely as it was.
Now, my job is just to figure out this new world with more words “learning impairment” “language impairment” “verification” and on and on it goes.
I have started looking for information about brains, about pathways to learning, about things that have unblocked the path for others. But peacefully looking, if that makes sense.
Deep down, I am blessed, because I am utterly convinced that it is truly OK. I believe… what matters most, is to make sure that my little guy knows through and through that he is loved, that he is worthy of love and belonging. Right now. Just as he is. And that shouldn’t be hard. Because I believe it. Through and through.
Kathryn has written about her diagnosis story. She knew some things were different for her 3rd son, but in the busyness of life (or maybe that was just the denial showing up) she presumed he would catch up. Kathryn blogs about life, the law and whatever shows up at her blog Alphabet Rainbows. Her studio for self expression and creativity is a treasured space in a busy life.