And there we sat for a half hour trying to calm down and recover from the pain.  A few friends had commented on how easy a bit of schoolwork of my daughter’s was and she felt it was difficult.  She froze and her mind literally shut down in panic.  As soon as she felt that she was less, she could not answer the questions.  By the time she told me about it, she was shaking and sobbing.  The ache of watching my daughter struggle this year has been like a knife in the heart.

I am not sure if it is because I am surprised we have arrived here, it was really pretty unexpected.  She was a child so ahead as a tiny person that I never imagined any academic difficulties would come into her life.  She is still right where she needs to be in school, but oh the behind the scenes effort to stay in this place has been difficult.  While others relax or zip through homework, we are repeating nightly the math lesson, we are searching for a book with the just right size text, trying to reteach phonic skills we hadn’t realized she hadn’t mastered, and then hours of dreaded vision therapy.  The fights, the angst, the anger over doing the extra.  It is like we invited this evil figure into the house one that turned our family up side down and created chaos. It doesn’t just impact one of us, it has become a family theme….stress.  A weekend ritual to fight over getting the extra therapy done, to make sure she reads the books, to review those multiplication facts.

Yet it is worth it, because she remains where she needs to be.  She could catch the lacrosse ball today 100 times better than last year when she started her vision work. Maybe the struggle will grow her as a person. It is far less than other children deal with, but I am her mom and I don’t want this to be her theme.  I know for me, it has given a new perspective about the families that I work with and how they may feel having a child with a learning difficulty.  Every accomplishment means more because of the effort behind it.  I hope she knows someday that we didn’t do all this extra to make her different, but rather to make sure she is given the best chance to overcome the difficulties.


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