No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star. ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814–1880)


All I wanted to do last night was to eat at the dining room table. Discuss the new year, set some ground rules, establish some guidelines…you know, chart a course. Homework, computer time…bedtime you know all those new school year things. Ugh. Failure in every way. The bed times were too early, the rules were too strict, the “what if’s?” and the “But why’s? to every single thing Eric and I said. Nothing was fair. Nothing at all.

All I wanted was a great meal, early baths and a decent bedtime that according to some National report would be best if we all just were in bed by 6:00 p.m. I just wanted one single solitary night to be perfect. Sheeze! We were far from perfect. We were apparently being mean, and unrealistic with our demands. We just didn’t understand how hard things were…to that I must laugh, and call Crap. Yes crap!

Crap, crappity, crap… crap… crap…and James  of all people knows it.

I have never been where I am in life on many fronts…to me this is some murky uncharted water. When James was in second grade we discovered he had dyslexia. Now to some that may be a sentence you read and say “oh no” to in some sympathetic way that would be sweet and hopefully helpful. His second grade teacher wanted to tell me how sad he was. How she felt he was slipping into a deep depression and maybe needed to talk to someone about his “LD” said in a hushed tone. Talk to someone like “give up?” or talk to someone like “Let’s go kick some left side of the brain butt?” There’s a huge difference you know.

To a mother that has been desperately trying to figure out why their sweet precious child can’t read certain letters…or string the simplest of sentences together or doesn’t seem to be progressing at the same speed, heck, even be on the same road as the other seven-year olds. This news of a diagnosis was like the angels singing…you have no idea. When you have exhausted every possible scenario and someone provides you with an answer, it means you have a starting point.

That’s a far cry from the inept feeling I had for several years of trying to slay an invisible dragon with nothing but a spaghetti noodle. I was his advocate. I was his fighter. I had his back. So we planned, and proceeded and procured a goal to attack his LEARNING DISABILITY like it was as normal as the cute little freckle on the side of his nose.

I will never forget being in tears at he end of a table at school one day pleading with the principal to go against the second grade teacher’s recommendations and not hold James back. No matter what she said abou his inability to catch up, I refused to believe it. We had found a diagnosis, we had a starting point, we could slay the dragon now, we knew where the soft underbelly was…and we would NOT give into depression, we would NOT accept this as the answer, and going back to redo the same year over and expect a different outcome ion by sheer definition…insanity.

She listened, and she trusted me. She also gave him the Principal’s Award his fifth grade year for all the left brain butt kicking he did. He was on the honor roll and maintained A’s and B’s for many years since I had sat across from her with tear stained cheeks, asking her to trust in him.. She told me in the hall right before announcing her recipients, that James would always be one of the one’s “she remembers” and I truly believe her.

Now, baby girl is the one in second grade and things are totally different with this child, yet ironically enough, she has the assistant teacher that taught James who is now the head teacher. She remembers him fondly, and has a very intact remembrance of me…Or so she said the night of Open House. I am choosing to believe she meant it as a compliment. I was in Tiger Mom mode when she last knew me…so who knows. Yeah, I sort of do know..but that’s I like being known as a force of nature.

The other thing that is different is I’m working full time. I’m not there to volunteer for her the way I did for him…be there after school, come to have lunches, pick her up early for no reason at all except to go get ice cream. Part of me feels as if she is getting shafted. But then again Ansley Rose doesn’t have any dragons to slay…If anything, she would be one of the dragon whisperers.

I pity the fool dragon that sniffs her the wrong way. She is an anomaly. A ball of sunshine, dipped in optimism, sprinkled with hope and goodness. The perfect truffle of happiness we all wish we could let melt in our mouths and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m not even exaggerating…Doubt me? Come spend ten minutes with her.

I don’t hover, I don’t bubble wrap and I don’t sugar coat when it comes to the kids. Life is hard enough, making him believe in anything different does them a disservice. I’m still I the kicking butt mode, and have no reason to expect any less from either of them. Period.

So we go back to the line. Each of us have it. The line we draw for ourselves. Are we giving too much or we short changing them in some way by working? Are we trying to hard to fix things? Are we doing to little to insure they are happy, safe and secure? I realized last night that there is no line.

The twists and turns will continue to evolve and this thing called childhood is just one big roller coaster. Some like to sit in the front like Ansley Rose. Hands thrown up in the air like she just don’t care. Some sitting in the back like James wanting to be sure to see all that’s in front of him so he can choose to open or close his eyes.

And me…I will continue to navigate the best way I can. I’m just along for the ride…that is my role. Just to sit here and observe where I need to be, to take deep breaths when the bottom falls out, and remember to laugh out loud during the top of the hills down…be faithful in the steady climbs up…not to be afraid of the clickity clacks of Nay Sayers that cast doubts along the way.

Enjoy the ride, hold on tight to it…it will be over before I am ready I’m sure. Even on my worst days of wanting to scream at the top of my lungs….I know this is the best life has to give me, this jewel of time with them. One day, I will give everything I have somewhere further down the road for just one more ride.

Parenting is hard. Realize that there is no perfect. There is no rule. There is no text book. And my children are the perfect proof that no two are ever alike. He is quiet, kind hearted, silently brilliant and thinks constantly out side the box but is terrified of what might be inside waiting to jump out and scare the bejeebies out of him. She wants to live in the box and pretend it’s a rocketship, or castle, or that she’s a jack-in-the-box and maybe her brother will walk by so she can jump out and scare the bejeebies out of him…Either way, at the end of the day, it’s only them and you….oh, and the invisible dragons…hopefully your fully armed with a ton of spaghetti noodles. ~ Kimberly


If you are wondering about the early detection signs of dyslexia, please ask your pediatrician for assitance. Schools have come a very long way in the past six years since Jmaes was in second grade. Here is a link to a site I found helpful. It has been my experiance to trust your gut. You owe it to yourself and your child to find your own dragons.