Our middle kid has sat through five years of “success assemblies,” where kids are recognized for making the honor roll or for leadership or for perfect attendance. And not once, not once, in those five years from kindergarten through fourth grade has his name ever been called. Year after year, success assembly after success assembly, he has sat on the floor while all his friends have had their turns to get up and get their certificates.
I never thought honor roll would be a tear trigger
This is an excruciating kind of torture. To have to sit and watch while the kids around you all stand to the applause of their parents and go forward to be recognized. I know that side, too, because both of my other kiddos have had their fair share of certificates and accolades. But neither of them ever worked as hard as our kiddo in the middle. If you’re a mom of a kid with any kind of learning disability or speech disability or any other challenge they’ve had to overcome in the classroom, you probably know what I mean.
Because you, too, know what it’s like for ten minutes of spelling homework to bleed into two hours of tears and gnashing of teeth. You know the profound self-doubt that can swamp a kid. You know the struggle that comes from not being able to make the words that come out of your mouth sound like the words on the page. Of always feeling different or behind or just not smart enough. We’ve lived it too. We’ve lived individual education plans and speech therapists and long stretches of struggling to understand the words that came out of our son’s mouth.
So many nights of frustration. So many afternoons trying to turn back the tide of our kid’s belief that he was stupid. He would sit at the long stretch of the kitchen table with his face screwed up in a fury of self-loathing, tears streaming hot down his cheeks, and the pencil nearly snapping in half as he tried to sound out the words he was supposed to spell but that he could barely pronounce.