“Mom! Why are you crying!?” Reilly, my teenage son, says to me followed by an awkward laugh. His curiosity isn’t too far off… yes, I was crying and for reasons that would take years to explain- 14 years in fact. I shrugged it off and whimpered “I’m proud of you, Reilly” followed by a ritual a mom and teenage son do best, the classic fist bump.
You see, if you know my journey with my son you would know exactly why I was crying. I have no hidden lurking shadows in parenting my oldest son. I’ve been an open book at our struggles- just go back and read my blog posts, especially “An aggressive researcher”. It’s a small glimpse into my parenting journey.
There you will read about a mom who struggled to the core. A mom who spent countless hours being mind fucked with questions on how her son would turn out. A mom who sobbed uncontrollably for hours at night alone when no one was around to see or hear. A mom who was broken-hearted after every single parent-teacher, doctors, therapist and psychologist meetings. I felt defeated as a mom- to my utmost core. I would cry out during my showers in hopes that God would surely hear me. I was pushed to the brink of every meeting I held. Countless meetings. Meetings that all ended the same- “there’s not much we can do. We don’t have the resources, in fact- in all honesty, he’s not going to even need to learn to spell or read anyway the way technology is progressing. It’s going to be obsolete.” And every “Here’s some medication that we think will help”.
As a mom and human being, I felt nothing but anger and rage in those moments. I knew without a shadow of doubt that there was something wrong and something more I could do. Those moments where I needed to up my game and seek more help than what the local Hawai’i schools and doctors could provide. But, I’m not wealthy. I can’t afford to send my children to a fancy prep school where the funds are there for children like mine. I felt trapped and pushed around. I was clearly up against a wall. Surely, his learning disabilities would be caught, seen and addressed a lot sooner had I had the resources. But, I didn’t. And damn did I try.
An astounding amount of people ask me “why would you move *FROM* Hawai’i *TO* California”. They ask in utter shock and awe with a snobby distaste. Like there’s no good explanation I can offer that will surely justify my reasoning. But I have one. Or two-
I was beginning to see my reasoning being justified when my son was immediately taken for testing upon my request to our local California School when we moved back. Then, justified even more so when he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Finally. Someone hears my cries! He was diagnosed with HDHD, Impulsivity disorder, and could barely read or write in Hawai’i, but that apparently wasn’t enough to get the district to give him the help he needed. This diagnosis came without shock. I knew he struggled with this, but to have medically trained doctors tell me was a sigh of relief.
Things were progressing and help was coming! I knew in my core Reilly was hindered with something. I always worked with him at home with reading and writing and I noticed early on a slight disadvantage within him. My concern was quickly disregarded in Hawai’i.
So deeply within me, I’m screaming “you can just fuck off with your whys and rolling eyes”.
But, clearly I still haven’t learned that I don’t need a “reason” or “justification” to do what I think is best for me and my family. I’m working on that.
However, when I watched my son, fist air pumping and smiling when they said his name for a Principals Award (which I learned is HIGHER than honor roll, I’m new at this!)-at that moment I did my own mental fist pump in the air screaming at the top of my lungs to all those times I hurt so deeply. I gave them a big FUCK YOU!!! Inwardly I did that. But outwardly, I ugly cried. Damn these confusing moments and my tendency to hold it all together.
I ugly cried.
I’ve always lived￼ within my emotions. Holding tight to them and never allowing them a glimpse of outward light. I’m typically as cold as this bourbon and coke i’m drinking right now, but I turn into mush when it comes to my children. I even just apologized to the concerned patrons I’m sitting next to on the airplane I’m on right now, because my tears are flowing just writing this. Luckily, my tears are soaked up with this mask I have on. And you know what? Surprisingly, the need to explain and justify my leaking face isn’t necessary. I’m shockingly okay with that. I’m holding on tight to this moment. Because in the future when I become and feel defeated again, I can honestly say that there is in fact, HOPE.
He’ll never fully understand the pain and hurt I have gone through as his mom. I took that oath when I gave life to him. To protect him- at all costs. Even if that cost is my emotional well-being. But with the pain, I have come out with a sense of pride. I never gave up. I pushed back when the times were the hardest. I stood my ground. I was his best advocate. And if you know me- you know I’m a freight train. A force to be reckoned with. Even at my breaking point, I’ve always mustered enough strength to hit it head on. Consistency. A never failing, never wavering, never going to take “No” from anyone. Especially when it comes to my kids.
I shall fight until I can’t fight anymore.
All the deep soul stomach aches, worth It. All worth it- when my son consoled me when I was ugly crying because he got the Principals Award for straight A’s. May he never know the pain and brutal endurance when he is a parent, but if he does- I believe that doing what I have done has made an impression on him. May it be the foundation of my strength and never wavering spirit that he takes with him into this world.
A mother’s love is deep- or so they say.
My hope is that one day when my son is old enough to process my writings, that he reads this with an understanding and love for his mom. A new awakening of the sacrifices I’ve made, the love I’ve given and finally realize where he got the “take shit from no one” personality he inherited.
Yes, son- you got it from your momma. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.