Dear Momma of a Struggling Learner…. I Know. 6
Parenting

Dear Momma of a Struggling Learner…. I Know.

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Dear Momma of a Struggling Learner…. I know,  I saw you leave the office in tears. 

Sitting in your car, you made the call, the one I made dozens of times. Either to a friend or your husband.

They don’t understand.

Another pill, another tutor, another plan – maybe this time he will catch up.

Catch up with the others, be the same, meet the norm.

They don’t understand.

Maybe they call it difficult, obstinant, fidgety, disrespectful, distracted, sweet… but.

But… what?


For us, the moms of the struggling, the struggle is real.

Really… painful.

And maybe it is the time of year. Maybe it is seeing you, with your face in your hands dissolved to heaves alone in your car out of ideas, unsure of the next step, the future or what you can possibly do to make this okay.

I want you to know, I know.

And I won’t lie, it is not okay.  There is not a one size fits all answer.  Everyone has some tidbits of advice. I had files, filing cabinets full of them – the tidbits.  You know, looking back on it my heart’s desire was for no one to ever make him feel less than.  I never wanted anyone to scream at him that he was a “&*%$ IDIOT” and then, he decided to become a Marine.  As it turns out, John makes high 90’s on tests when drill sergeants scream this at him.

Who knew?

Granted, I cannot fathom this is the route I would have taken had it been suggested, but you never know.  I tried everything else… everything.

Prayer vigils, essential oils, diets, colored glasses, textured socks, sound therapy, light therapy, sound-light therapy, dark therapy, horse-sound-light therapy, and all the things that would make everything… normal.

I just craved that for him, my heart broke time and again at the thought of him feeling all the pangs of falling behind.

I knew him.

I know him.

This boy, this heart, this mind, I couldn’t make them understand what we saw and what we knew about this soul. And in my car, I sat and grieved, like I see you grieving now.

 

I know.

I am so sorry for this hurt.

I am so sorry for this struggle.

I wish I could tell you there was one way and that at some grand, exact and poignant moment – you will cross a finish line and know, “yep, that was it.”

But I wish I had known this, this grief, this worry, and this trial was the best I could do for my boy.

Trying anything and everything at all costs was the very best of me.  Even the stuff that didn’t work, that was a colossal waste of time and borderline ridiculous, was worth a try. He was worth the effort. My baby was worth the battle.

He was absolutely worth every tear that I shed in my car, on the bathroom floor, and in every single doctor’s office and clinic.  Every penny spent, every stupid book, blog, article, and lecture was time I invested in an effort to protect my boy.  I may not have ever found the perfect recipe, you may not, and I promise, you cannot fit your beautiful square peg into the Americanized circle that seems so simple for some and so impossible for others, but Lord knows I worked tirelessly to protect him.

There in your car, the tears you shed are the hard work of a momma who loves well.

They are not wasted.

[clickToTweet tweet=”the tears you shed are the hard work of a #momma who loves well #learningdisabilities” quote=”the tears you shed are the hard work of a #momma who loves well #learningdisabilities”]

This fight, albeit an uphill battle in gale force wind, is for your baby.  Every failure, every “no,” every single “yeah, that’s not helping,” every single one of those efforts is another of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle in the life of a struggling learner.

Those efforts are your way of telling your child, “I believe.”

When I thought I was failing because my child still struggled, this is what I was missing, I still believed.

And I did.  I just didn’t tell him every day.  By my actions, he knew.  He knew, I never gave up.

But I know I told him too, I just wish I had told him every single day.

I believe.

I believe in you.

I am fighting for you because I know who you are.

I am crying for you because I believe you are going to show them all.

I believe in you.

When John left for boot camp, I placed my hand on his mountainous chest, this 6’3” 200-pound man, who had been the smallest of my babies, the weakest of my litter, and my “struggling learner,” was now boarding a bus to serve his country.  I could feel his heart racing. Neither of us knew what it would be like. I had always been there to fight for him, but he said, “I have to go, but it is ok.” And I said, “I know, you can do this, I believe in you.” And he said, “I know, I love you.”

I believed.

I still do.

That is the greatest gift a mom can give her struggling learner, to believe in them.

So grieve, cry in your car for this struggle.  But do not believe your time is wasted.  This is the essence of your motherhood, to fight for this human.  He or she may not be “normal,” thank God for that.  This struggle, this battle cry may last years,  or it may be over by the fourth grade, but fight it well.  Grieve like you love, fiercely.  Let them see you cry, and let them know you rage on because you believe.

 

May your floors be sticky and your learners be far from normal. Semper Fi.  Love,  Jami

But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

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20 Comments

  1. Julie Richmond says:

    Beautiful!

  2. Tammy says:

    Been there. Done that. I wear they shirt proudly!

  3. Beth says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I grieve and pray and struggle along side my struggling learner everyday. He’s 18 now and school work is still frustratingly difficult. The balance between pushing him and helping him is an elusive mystery to me. I read your post through big, drippy tears because I have felt so alone, like such a failure. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      You are not alone. And you are not a failure. You are so loved. ❤️

  4. Bethany says:

    So many moms needed this… me included. We have struggled almost 14 years with our daughter who has high functioning autism, depression, and anxiety. Each day, sometimes each moment, I battle for better. All for her. Just like you and your manbaby. The wonderful thing is watching her learn to put on her own armor and help others with their struggles. My daughter and your son, both warriors for better, an extension of our tenacity and compassion. And a reflection of God’s love. Your sacrifices have given the entire nation a precious protector. Be proud, Mama!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      You be proud too!!! Love, J

  5. Dana says:

    Thank you for this heartfelt article. It made me cry and it made me proud. I am the mom of a 21 year old successful ADHD “boy.” I fought like hell for him and never gave up. God bless you and all those moms that love fiercely!

  6. Ginny says:

    Oh my goodness. It’s like you walked into my brain, sat down and wrote exactly what I needed to hear. My sweet, quiet, intense, big hearted and fiercely loved first grader struggles. I can see the future and it is full of more tears and homework fights around the kitchen table, but it felt so good to read something relatable. This battle can feel so isolating. Thank you! It means more to me than you will ever know. ❤️

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  7. Heather says:

    Thank you, can’t wait to see who my boys grow to become, they have so much potential, they just need help…and prayers…and tears… to reach their goals.

  8. Yes!!! That’s all.

  9. Theresa says:

    Since hanging up the home school momma hat it has been very tough to hear from teachers that know nothing about what we did at home, that my son is ____________. Below average, behind, was neglected, should have had a tutor, ect. Maybe he shouldn’t have been deprived oxygen in Utero as well but since we can’t change the past, how can we help him succeed by thinking outside the box. Being that my oldest graduated highschool with an AA degree, maybe it is not my fault that this one is not as skilled, cant retain info and is not an A student! Thank you for writing what I wish I could say to his teachers if it would not cause my son to be expelled from the very small private school he attends. Since I can no longer battle this and keep my religion we have turned to Brain Balance who is now fighting the school FOR me to get them to understand what we have all known!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      I’m sorry for this struggle. Praying for you right now friend.

  10. monica thompson says:

    Thank you so much for this. It was an open tab on my phone I didn’t realize I hadn’t read, but appeared at exactly the right time. I am in the process of deciding whether to homeschool my son, and have everyone questioning me.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  11. Chidinma Chukwumerije says:

    Thank you for this. It came at just the right time

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Your welcome… I’m sorry your going through a hard season. I pray you can find answers.

  12. Jennifer Taylor says:

    I needed this today. My daughter isn’t a struggling learner in the book learning sense. She struggles with eating. The doctors really still don’t know why, and that is the most frustrating part of this whole issue. She had to go to OT as a toddler to learn how to chew. She has oral hypersensitivity, an overactive gag reflex, and she’s a hyper-taster. Some days are better than others. Today has not been my day. In fact this hasn’t been my week. I know this isn’t a new post for you, but it’s new to me. I wanted to say thank you for posting because I really needed this post, especially after this week.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Keep on Jennifer. She will be ok & you’re doing great. Prayers… j.

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