Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I feel like I’ve spent so much time and energy these last few weeks on things that could be categorized as trying to “fix” my little girl. Orthodontists. Eye doctors. Teachers. Reading Specialists. Psychologists. Ironically, I’ve never thought she was in need of fixing.

With the exception of some wickedly crowded teeth, that still holds true. She is smart. She is funny. She is beautiful. She is creative. She is athletic.

She is dyslexic.

I’m having a hard time this week separating that word from her. I think about it when I’m making her lunch or rubbing her back at bedtime. I thought about it when I scheduled a playdate for her tonight. I thought about it when I had lunch with her and her friends at school today. It’s a strange sort of obsession. Two parts worry. One part relief. She’s dyslexic. It’s a real thing. A thing with a name. A thing that won’t ever go away. A thing that will cause her anxiety and frustration. A thing that has already caused us both heartache. But it’s a thing that we can work on!

There have been many, many moments over the last two and a half years when the yet unnamed dyslexia has sucked big time. A few moments stand out pretty clearly for me in fact. I can already tell that those will be stories I tell to other mothers years from now when I’m reassuring the newly initiated that their membership in the club isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to them. And heaven knows that there are going to be more struggles, frustrations, offences taken, and battles over homework getting done. But today this diagnosis, this concept – it’s a thousand times better than the not knowing what the disconnect was and feeling helpless to help her.

I’d like to take a moment here and remind everyone in my not so subtle way that I TOTALLY called this in kindergarten. Not only that, I stated my firm belief that it was a shared family trait. And helloooo…right again. Damn I’m good. But anyway…

It’s overwhelming, to say the least. All this stuff I’m learning about how her brain may (or may not) work. It seems to be a slippery little thing, dyslexia. Even what most of us think we know about it isn’t accurate. And there are as many different iterations as there are people who have it.

Here’s what I know. She’s got it. And she’s got it good. (Damnit.)

I also know that educating our family, my daughter and her teachers about how to help her manage her dyslexia is going to take up a lot of my time over, say…the next 17 years.

See? Overwhelming.

Interestingly enough, here’s another thing I know. My girl will never step foot into a classroom and be a nameless face. She will not have the luxury of slipping through the cracks. For the next however many years until she finishes her education (probably a Post Doctoral degree) she will be requiring, and getting just a little bit more from her teachers. And I honestly believe that they will be happy to do it. Not only because she is a sweet, loving kid who people like to help, but because we have such great teachers here. So there’s a blessing, right? And another blessing is that we caught this in second grade, before she had a chance to decide she wasn’t very bright or that she didn’t like school. She loves school. She loves books. She certainly isn’t lacking in the self esteem department. My goal is to keep it that way. (Blessing number three…she’s got me. And you know how I just love to tackle a new challenge.)

I’ll let you know how it goes…