“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
Ever since I have started this blog, I have not written too much about my children. I chose to do this because their lives are theirs, and I don’t think they would always want their business out there on the internet. That said, I want to talk a little bit about them today. For now, we will just call them Little King, Beloved, and Princess.
Becoming a mother was much harder than I had ever imagined. As I mentioned before, I suffered from Post Partum Depression. Gone were my fantasies of putting my baby into the jogging stroller at 7:00 a.m. while a perfectly fit me jogged down to Starbucks for my Grande Peppermint Mocha. I was lucky if I could even get a shower and make it through a day without crying. Then, after having an ectopic pregnancy that was life threatening, I worried if I would only have one child. But God had other plans. Now I have my precious three here and that little one I lost in the ectopic who is in heaven.
I soon grew to love my new role as mother. But I was literally astounded at how hard it was. As my friend, Kathleen says, “I did my best parenting before I had children.” As a singleton, I was arrogant. As a mother I wanted to go back to my own mother and apologize for everything ever. I never knew the trials of motherhood. The pain, the pure joy.
Now, suffice it to say, my kids have had some issues. Little King got a diagnosis of ADHD in first grade. Severe ADHD. My brilliant child, who spoke sentences at 15 months, couldn’t seem to get any work done. Then came the questioning from other parents, maybe I just didn’t discipline him enough. Maybe I was feeding him all the wrong things. Whatever the case, it was DEFINITELY my fault. At least that is how I felt anyway.
Beloved, went to pre-school for three years and never spoke a word. He spoke at home. But not at school. Alas, after some research, he too had a diagnosis. Selective Mutism. An anxiety disorder, rooted in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This must also be my fault. I was the anxious parent, I must have passed it on to him!
So again, being a mother is not all rosy all the time, because it is hard. But as all parents out there know, it is so worth it. We consulted Doctors, medical advice, and alternative medicine, for our boys. After a year of pretty intensive therapy that me and my husband took (our Doctor said it would be useless for Beloved to be in therapy because he didn’t speak, so me and my husband took it and implemented what was taught to us), Beloved started speaking and he never looked back. He is now our most outgoing child. I was THRILLED when I got a note home in Kindergarten that Beloved was talking too much in class. That was a huge victory for us.
As is the case with ADHD, Little King, has struggled every year in school in certain areas. We have a plan for him. He is actually gifted in certain areas, but things like organization and working memory, are not among those gifted areas. It is a constant struggle. Trying to balance discipline without breaking his spirit. What is he capable of and what can he really not help. I pray often about this.
This brings me to my main point today for writing. The Tuesday folder. Tuesday is the day the school sends home all of their work from the previous week. Parents are to look at it and sign it and send it back so the teachers know they are aware of how their child is doing. I have hated the Tuesday folder.
The Tuesday folder had become the nemesis that I dreaded getting. I have often fantasized about what it would be like to open a Tuesday folder and see all 100% and feeling the pangs of jealousy toward those parents who did open theirs to find that. The Tuesday folder was the marker for inadequacy in my family. Inadequacy for all of us. To be fair, my children really don’t always do that poorly in school, but let’s just say there aren’t all A’s. Sixth grade for Little King has been particularly challenging. I have been known to state, “I hate sixth grade.” I am sure my son has felt something similar.
I was talking to one of the sixth grade teachers yesterday and I found myself complaining. I said out loud, “I hate Tuesday.” After I got in the car, I was a little embarrassed that I had verbalized that. I started to remember how I had vowed to be Thankful in All things. I thought, how can I be thankful for the Tuesday folder?
It dawned on me that the Tuesday folder has actually taught my children a very valuable lesson. They know that I want them to do well and succeed in school, but they also know that no matter what mom and dad open up and find in the Tuesday folder, they are loved, unconditionally. My love for them does not depend on what the piece of paper says. My love for them is for every part of them. Every inattentive, anxious part of them. They have learned that if they fail something the world doesn’t stop turning. That sometimes failure opens up a new way of learning or a new door. I don’t know what Little King or Beloved will grow up to be, but whatever it is, be it a ditch digger or a rocket scientist, they are loved. The Tuesday folder is just one very tiny small part in the journey of their souls. I know the teachers who send home the Tuesday folder have said that they pray every day for my children and I feel blessed about that. So I have decided not to fear the Tuesday folder, not to feel the inadequacy of it, but to embrace it, because it makes me show my children unconditional love. I know God has big plans for them and He is shaping their souls into hopefully holy little people.
I did not mention Princess too much this post. She is only in Pre-K. When I got pregnant with her my prayer was simple, “healthy please Lord with no issues.” So far, that has been the case for her. But even if she ends up with issues, I will love her unconditionally. No matter what is in her Tuesday folder.