Note: I originally wrote this blog for the Literacy Nest. Thank you, Emily, for publishing!
As any parent of a child who struggles will tell you, academic awards day is usually less than fun. In fact, I know of many parents who skip the day entirely. A few weeks ago, my oldest child who is severely dyslexic said:
Mom, the only award I’ll ever get is perfect attendance. And I even messed that up.
Talk about a mama heart breaking into one-thousand pieces. By the way, he “messed up” perfect attendance because he had strep throat.
Still, I had hope. This year, for us, is a special year. It’s his last year of elementary school. Maybe they give them all some sort of award?
I didn’t realize until later – but I had internally talked myself into thinking he would get a “surprise” award and it would be this amazing moment.
The day arrived. As I piled into the gym with the other moms and dads, I made sure to get a good seat “just in case.” There were two awards that I thought he might have a shot at getting – the most improved or the art award.
As both of those awards were called, I held my breath …
And other names called.
I was crushed. CRUSHED. I couldn’t see his face as his back was to me, but I wondered how he felt.
I started to silently cry – tears were rolling down my cheeks as I was quietly sitting there in the hard gym chairs with other parents cheering and clapping all around me.
After the awards, we all head to their classrooms for lunch. Since I knew he’d be crushed, my plan was to check him out and go for ice cream. But as I round the corner, this young was … smiling.
Not just smiling – BEAMING. What?!?
“Mom! LOOK! Look what Ms Collier did! Last week, she asked us to write words describing one another, and LOOK WHAT SHE DID!”
I picked up this paper he is holding and I saw words written around his name. Artistic, brave, kind…
“Did you see this one, Mom? Look! Someone wrote SMART! And it wasn’t a teacher who wrote that either. It was KID! A kid thinks I’m SMART!”
Wow. I don’t even …my words were gone. I hugged him as different kinds of tears formed in my eyes. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. Tears of ….his classmates see who he is too.
Thank you, Ms Collier. Thank you.