Charles Caleb Colton said, "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery." Nothing can be more true than when the imitation comes from your child.
At school, for Mother's Day, Grant (my NT, 9 year-old son) was asked to write some things in a card to describe his Mom. He wrote many sweet things in this card about me cheering for him at baseball games, volunteering for the PTA, writing a blog, but the one thing he said that touched my heart was, "She never gives up." I actually cried as I read this handmade treasure.
Later, when it was just he and I together, I asked him what made him say that about me. He said, "Because when something is hard in life, you work and work until you figure out how to get it done right, and when things get hard with Hunter (my 14 year-old son with Asperger's), you keep going. You never give up on him."
This little boy never ceases to amaze me. I feel like he has endured so much, yet he is so happy. Living with an older brother on the spectrum is not always a cake walk, especially when Hunter is in his not-so-fun teenage years, and you are his younger brother i.e. punching bag. There are days Grant struggles with it, but most days, he takes it in stride. He has dealt with his dyslexia like a champ and moving from Indiana to Texas like he had done it a million times. Day in and day out, he has such a zest for life. He has a contagious belly laugh and an amazing intuitive gift for being able to make everyone around him feel better. I could learn so much from imitating him.
Grant was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade. Last year, in second grade, he was struggling. He was a year into his diagnosis and frustrated. He was down on himself. He felt dumb. It saddened me to see him so broken. I would read to him everyday, and have him read to me. It wasn't always fun. He fought me tooth and nail most days. At the beginning of this school year, something changed. He wanted to read. He was actually getting in trouble at school for reading during class. His teachers were amazingly encouraging. His confidence peaked. The boy turned into an avid reader. By the end of this school year (3rd grade), he was reading at a fifth grade level... and once again I cried.
Sure enough, on Monday morning (the first day of summer break, no less), before I'd had my first cup of coffee, I was met with Grant in his running shoes. He had his sunglasses on and a water bottle in his hand. We started out slowly, with a mile. Then a mile and a half. We walked every morning until we left for our trip. On the morning of the walk, he was up and ready to go. He walked that 5K like a champ, and when he was all done, he looked at me and said, "I didn't give up."
Sometimes I wonder if I am making an impact on my kids lives. I worry that I am not doing enough to guide them in the right direction. I often wonder if I am equipping them with the right tools to maneuver this difficult world. After all, parenting doesn't come with a manual. Then, Grant finishes that walk, learns to read, and reaches his goals because he "didn't give up". I know I'm making a lot of mistakes along this journey, but I actually got this one right!