"You know something, mom ( and I mean this as a compliment)? Some families feel the need to be so spiff and perfect and…on time. Not us, though! I like that we are different!"
- Priscilla Sabourin
We had parent teacher conferences last week. I was both surprised and not surprised at all by the feedback I received regarding my three older children's strengths and weaknesses. I left marveling anew at how unique they are, my sons and daughters. How could two parents raising four kids in the same house, using the same feeding, disciplining, grooming, scheduling techniques, providing the same amount of affection and encouragement to each, end up with such varying results in the personality department? They are certainly not mere "Mini-Mes," I was clearly reminded. No, these awesomely incomparable creatures are blooming at radically different rates – are, between them, producing a vibrant bouquet of interests, talents and dispositions.
Tonight, my eight-year-old snuggled up on the couch with me. We'd made a date earlier in the day to spend a few moments reading together after dinner. About a year ago, I'd worked with him vigorously on letter sounds, blending, and sight word recognition. Both Priscilla and Elijah were avid readers by the age of seven, and I was determined to help my third born move past his phonetical hang-ups and "catch-up" with his peers. I tried flash cards, "BOB" books, Starfall (a great reading website that pretty much single-handedly taught Elijah to read when he was six), and worksheets, to no avail. Bless his heart, something just wasn't clicking and he was getting frustrated, and I was getting frustrated. Finally, I had to swallow the fact he simply was not ready… and let go of my own rigid expectations.
Ben's in first grade now; it's a perfect fit. He's taught us to think outside of the box, and that's been really, really good for me. This evening, as we once again, like old times, cracked open a "Dick and Jane" easy reader, I was thrilled to behold a change in his demeanor, a beaming confidence I hadn't seen in his face or heard in his voice before, as he deftly tackled sentences that would have for sure tripped him up even a month ago. It was fabulous, I tell you, just fabulous to catch a glimpse of that transformation taking place, to observe my son on the brink of a major breakthrough. "If I wake up early enough, can we practice reading a little before breakfast," Benji asked before falling asleep. And who could possibly say no to that?
God, help me to love them where they're at, and grant me the courage to take my focus off the status quo that I might better appreciate my children's resistance to societal norms and generic conformity. Thank you for loving me where I'm at. Thank you for my crazy amazing family. Thank you for coffee; apparently, I'm going to be needing it bright and early tomorrow morning.
See Molly yawn.
Go to bed, Molly! Go to bed!
Good night, and a blessed Monday to you!