Time really is like a river.
Some days are peaceful and placid.
Other days the river is white capped and wild.
This week I realized that life is changing…
time flows quickly, and it will never be the same.
My children are almost grown.
More adult than child.
High school, college.
Jobs, sports and schedules.
There is no going back, only the letting go.
My heart wants to hold on, even though I know…
it is in the releasing, that growth occurs.
It’s interesting how each moment with them seems more poignant
when I know that those moments are numbered.
Image by alex drennan via Flickr
Today at Faith Barista we are talking about Father’s Day.
Bonnie told us to write on the topic
however we chose, just keep it real.
So that is what I am doing….
Some of us had difficult relationships with our fathers
When we weren’t “daddy’s little girl”
When words were said
and feelings hurt.
And although he was there,
he wasn’t. Not really.
For times he chose others over my sister and me.
Maybe we just didn’t understand each other.
I am thankful for the years he provided for his family
and gave routine and predictability to the day.
I do have good memories too.
I wish there had been more.
I wish he had chosen to live.
To see me… and my sister.
To see his grandchildren.
To know and understand that
Fatherhood is important.
I could choose to burden myself with the “Why?” questions
but, the answers would echo cold
in the void, left behind.
Instead, I have chosen forgiveness
As much for me as for him.
To forgive him,
even now, years gone
is my Father’s Day gift
and to myself.
The series that I’ve blogged on for the past several days has been a stroll down memory lane for me. I have had many, many students over the years and more stories than I can possibly tell in just a few short days. Each of my students touched me. Each of them special in their own way. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them. Being a special education teacher has been an adventure. An adventure I am still on. Most of the time when people ask me what I do, I reply “I’m a wife and mom with all the challenges that come with that, a home school teacher, and I teach in special education.” Then a lot of the time I get this response…”Oh, it takes a special person to teach kids like that.” Hmmm…… I’ve given that response some thought. I don’t consider myself all that special because I teach individuals with special needs. The truth is I feel blessed to have had the opportunity. It sounds like a pat answer, but it isn’t. I truly mean that. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination….and there were many days that were frustrating and I felt like giving up…but than again nothing in life of any real value comes easily, does it?
Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve had educators tell me that they didn’t really see the point of having my students in their classrooms. “They aren’t going to learn anything anyway.” “I don’t know what to do with them.” (As if they were a thing, instead of a person!) At first I found it extremely frustrating. After awhile I realized, if the teacher could not look beyond the disability to see the child, then it was their loss. Not all teachers were that way. Thankfully, there were many who reached out, worked hard, and met the challenges that special education entails. Both the students and the teachers walked away from the school year having learned something new about each other. I’ve learned that special education isn’t perfect. It’s a lot of trial and error. Sometimes it’s going back to the drawing board and figuring out something new to try. It’s about not giving up.
One of my greatest treasures of the “special ed world” has been getting to know my student’s parents. Sure there have been some… um…..how shall I say this, interesting ones. Yet, most of the parents I’ve met have been good people. I consider it a privilege to know them. Are parents of children with special needs perfect? No. Do they sometimes get angry, or frustrated, or feel sorry for themselves? Sure. They are human. Are they thankful, and happy, and see even the smallest improvement as something to celebrate? Yes. I don’t think parents are perfect. I do think they are real. Many of us will never know the pain of watching our child struggle to eat without a tube. We won’t understand the feeling of knowing that our child can’t be on the local soccer team because he/she can’t walk, much less run. We won’t be able to commiserate about what it is like to see our child struggle to read or write and not have them feel dumb or stupid….or different. Or what about the parent that has a child trapped inside his/her own head, who is smart and funny and creative–but is unable to communicate it, because autism has stolen that from her? Every time, over the years, that I met with a parent I kept this thought foremost in my mind. These parents love their child, imperfections and all. They are requesting my help because they want their child to meet his/her full potential. Whatever that may be for that particular child. They want a chance for their child, just like any other parent. That’s it. So, if there are any parents of children with special needs that are reading my blog today. Thanks goes to you. Really. You are the ones that deserve it.