Tessa finished up her first grade year last week, and as of right now, she is going to repeat the school year. We go next week to have her tested for dyslexia and ADD. If she does have either of those, she will not repeat first grade, because I don't believe it will do her any good, but if she doesn't, I do think it will benefit her to repeat the grade.
I'm going to make a confession, and it may make me sound like a terrible person. This is truly hard on me. I have spent all of my life as the smart one, and I grew up believing my children would be just as smart as me or even smarter. My whole identity is based on being the smart one, and it is really hard to hear that your child may have a learning disability or even is struggling not to fail a grade. I am jealous when people post things on Facebook about their children making straight As or receiving school awards, especially when these people weren't the smart ones in school. My cousin, whose son has autism, says she felt the same way.
I can't put into words what I'm feeling, which is unusual for me. It's not that I'm ashamed of Tessa, because I'm super proud of her for being a good friend and a good big sister. It's not that I think she's dumb or stupid, because I know she's not. She picks up on certain things really quickly, and she's able to read people faster than she can read a book. Maybe it's that I'm scared of what it's going to mean for her, how it's going to make her feel, how it's going to affect her life. I don't know exactly what it is that is so hard about it for me.
The biggest thing, though, is I am ashamed I feel this way. I feel like I should be saying, "She has a learning disability or is struggling with school. No big deal, we will handle it and get her through it," and I am saying that aloud to everyone else. But, deep down inside, it is bothering me, and I hate that it is. I hate that I am jealous of people who kids are doing well in school, and I am ashamed of that, too.
Then, there is a part of me that feels a sense of guilt over the fact she may have dyslexia or ADD. I wonder if I did something to cause it, even though her daddy has it and so does his mom. And, I feel like I should be doing something more to help her with school, even though we work together every night on her homework, I read to her every night, went to the school to advocate for her, etc., etc., etc. I still feel guilty.
No matter what though, I'm not showing any of this to Tessa. We have told her about dyslexia and that it simply means she learns differently, not that she has a learning disability. We have told her her daddy has it, and she might, too. We have made it out not to be a big deal. She also knows that if she doesn't have it, she will being doing first grade over again. I asked her how she felt about that, and she was ok with it, as long as she didn't have to have her first teacher, the one who dumped her desk out in front of the whole class, again.
In the grand scheme of things, I guess I just need to look at it like this. I know she is intelligent. I know she is beautiful. I know she is a sweet child with a huge heart. It doesn't matter if she repeats first grade or if she learns differently. All that matters to me is that she is a good person who tries her best.
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