Perfect in his own right

This a guest post by Shirley Anne Smith. Thank you for a wonderful perspective.

In 2015, I celebrated two weddings- my brothers and mine- as well as the announcement of the pregnancy of my third child. Most people would say that I was on cloud nine and experiencing the best life had to offer. What most people didn’t know however: I was facing one of the hardest moments in parenting with my oldest child. The child whom everyone nicknamed the “perfect child,” was now failing two classes in the fourth grade. Yes, you read it correctly, the fourth grade.

Let me go back just a little to provide context. My son was tested for gifted in kindergarten. He scored an IQ rate of 134 at just five years old. Most children are not tested for gifted until the first or sometimes the second grade going into third.

Because of a high score, the teachers and administrators recommended that we skip from kindergarten to second grade. My argument against skipping grades was mostly based on emotional capacity to adjust to social norms of second grade while only being five years old. The school was such a great advocate- they created a gifted curriculum for my son since gifted didn’t start until second grade.

Now back to the beginning of the story. It’s his fourth grade year, I’m engaged, and everything in my life has halted due to his failing school. Everyone I consulted told me it was because he had experienced too many life changes – a new soon to be stepdad, a new school, and a new house. And while I didn’t argue that wasn’t completely true, I also know our children are more resilient than we give them credit for. Needless to say, I felt horrible and almost guilty for all the “good” life had given us.

I blamed myself time and time again and felt his grades reflected poorly on my parenting and the type of mother I was.  For whatever reason, I could not help or teach my son how to be the perfect son or a perfect student.

Fast forward and now he’s an A and B student.  While it’s not the Principal Honor Roll (like it was in the past) I had to learn to redefine success and attainment for both of us. The B’s -he has worked really hard for; the A’s – most came naturally.

Sometimes we all have one moment or another where we want perfection and we do everything to seek or maintain perfection.  I no longer allow the A’s to define him, myself, or the relationship I have with him. And while I have learned to be more vigilant of school work and different learning methods, he is still the perfect son. I also have enjoyed being more active in not only his academic trajectory but also the school administration and practices to meet a student’s wide array of abilities.

What was once a very hard time in my life with many shed tears, has now allowed my son and I a platform to discuss a new normal . . . because the sun always comes out after the rain.

Ronald if you ever read this, I love you my perfect child.


Giving up to gain more

Sacrifice: something given up or lost <the sacrifices made by parents> – this is one definition Merriam Webster provided – how fitting for today.

You have kids and your world immediately gets smaller and there’s bigger – why you say? Because of  S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E.

One of the best things about being a parent is watching your kids grow knowing you helped mold them. From the way they talk and think to how they see the world – this is a reflection of your very own footprint. Nothing is more special.

And the numerous sacrifices we make in hopes of them having better lives. But what happens when the sacrifice is not what you want and you have to check yourself- quick? This was me earlier in the week.

First, let me start by saying I would go to the moon and back for my kids- and I’m certain I have. The fact that most days I’m sleep deprived is a sacrifice in itself. Picking this one up and that one, doing this project and that homework assignment, this activity and that party, etc., etc. – and then being sane for myself. Did I mention red wine is my favorite? THIS IS WHY.

But back to this week – we decided (me begrudgingly at first) that we’re going to keep our youngest son home for now, who will then start Pre-K in the fall. Welcome to Taylor Preschool and Daycare.

So the woman who has gone from working and being about her career will now be home with two kids? Clutch the pearls…WHAT? Yes, that means right after Christmas, I’ll have a 10 month old and a 3 going on 4 year-old at Casa de Taylor. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

At first, I went through several emotions in a matter of 24 hours. From “no, I am not prepared to have TWO home,” to ” I have things I want to do,” and “why, why, why??” And then the guilty mom kicked in because I felt bad for feeling this way. I quickly had to check myself  because guess what? Parenting is sacrifice – over and over again – it’s not about you.

Women and men do it everyday and I had to come to grips and realize the importance of being home. I thought about all the women and men who would love to be home with their children (including my mom who wanted to be home with me) or women who are unable to have children. I was being blessed. This was about the significance of being the best parent I can be in this moment and on this next journey.

So back to sacrifice: something given up or lost . If I have to give up whatever to gain more with my kids, it’s worth it.

Because the sun always comes out after the rain. . .

Sun Taylor