Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Your Kid's Not Thriving

This time last year, I thought, he'll be fine. He's headed to the junior high school. His future was bright after report cards decorated with A's and encouraging teacher notes.

But, our kids are more than just performing students, aren't they?

We discovered so much more about our son than A's last year. We saw his heart--broken and distraught. We felt the pain of social pressure, the consequence of walking in a toxic environment day in and day out, and the mistake of having him start Kindergarten the week after his birthday...unfortunately, 8 years too late.

My son was not thriving. And I wasn't sure we could survive the next steps without carrying the gloom with us...all the way to graduation.

I remember thinking this past spring, how I wish I could dig my heels in and stop time for a minute. His grades and attitude had slipped, and while the school began to prep the students for high school (with a focus on college-prep), I was thinking, "WAIT! My kid is nowhere near ready!! We're still trying to get this middle school thing down!" 

There was this foreboding that he was trying to crawl out of a pit, but someone kept stepping on his fingers.

And when it's your kid's fingers being stepped on? Watch out for Mama Bear!

The school year ended with a bunch of correspondence between us and the school, us and a counselor, us and a nearby school district (actually, a school district that's closer to far as miles go, but also my son's social circles from youth group and our long-term connection with that community).

We were blessed to be heard. The administrators on both sides of the district line were most interested in our son's well-being. We were able to open-enroll and start over the next year.

And our son? Wow, what happens when his parents grab that foot and stops the stepping? The kid got his grip, and some hope. He actually wanted to be social. The kid went from wanting to just skip his electives to come home and not participate in any after school activities, now wanted to hang out with kids he would be in school with. Um, wha'???

Do you know what it feels like when a mother sees her son who was being shoved down, look up again?

Well, it's a heart-breaking relief. Yeah, it's almost like the swell of my spirit presses in on my wounds,  reminds me about the pain--but in a good way. I remember they are there, but something stronger is making them insignificant. That something stronger is Hope, I guess.

So today is his first day, of a new year in the same grade, at a new school. He's getting his second chance to grow wings. And I get to watch him fly.

I feel so much peace right now. I can't hardly imagine the feeling last fall.

When you've gone through a year of not seeing your kid thrive, it's good to step into hope again.

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