The day of reckoning, report cards, and rationalizing.
Evan brought home her report card yesterday. The first of many and quite likely the best one she’ll ever receive. Knowing that it’s possible this is the only time a teacher will describe her as a “delight” I should probably do something really special with the evidence. I should frame it. Or put it in a time capsule. Freeze it? Yeah, I should probably frame it inside a frozen time capsule and then have an image of it tattoo’d on my arm for reference. Instead it sits on the counter and I glare at it every time I walk past.
Twenty or so areas she is evaluated on and all I can look at are the three she is struggling with. A sea of successes and yet I can’t bring myself to stop staring at the selective challenges. According to the report card, according to my motherly intuition, and according to every person who has ever met this child… the kid can’t focus on anything, she can’t follow directions (or chooses not to) and the kid can’t share even if her life depended on it.
A little voice inside my head tells me that maybe those are just kid things. Maybe even more accurately those are age appropriate kindergarten things to be struggling with. Okay, so that voice inside my head was actually Mike telling me those things, but I wanted to take credit for it. The voice inside my head tells me very different things. The voice inside my head squeaks with trepidation and cracks with uncertainty. It worries that Evan will never be able to overcome these things. It considers that these are areas that even the librarianest of my abilities can’t help with. It’s terrified that it will prevent people from knowing, witnessing, and cherishing Evan.
I joke about my kids being bad a lot. It’s not actually a joke because they are in fact quite bad. But at the same time it is a joke because they are not truly bad. They are actually quite brilliant. In every sense of the word. The angst I spend worrying about their behavior has little to do with me thinking they need to change (not counting peeing on the floor, fist fighting and writing on walls… that needs to change ASAP) and everything to do with me worrying that people will never see beyond their tuff demeanor and foul mouths.
Mostly, I worry that things will be difficult for them, particularly Evan, if she can’t find a way to calm her mind down a bit. I worry because I know what it’s like to feel like a puzzle piece made up of four edges. Nothing to click onto. Nothing to weigh you down. You float by yourself surrounded by things that fit together so seamlessly. I want her to feel grounded and to find a way to connect. I want her to be able to add her piece to whatever puzzle she chooses to be a part of.
I told Evan I was proud of her for trying hard in school and learning a lot of new things. I wish I would have told her much more. I wish I could explain to her that someday her mind will make sense. Maybe not to anyone else, but at least to her. Someday she will find a way to slow it down, or at least organize it into compartments. She will sit down and write until it finds its way, like I do. Or maybe she’ll play music until her mind is spinning so fast it can’t even consider objecting to what she wants it to think about. Maybe she’ll beat her mind into submission by pounding through the miles I wish could produce. Whatever it is, I’m sure she’ll find a way.
Probably what I need to do, what I always need to do but never seem to successfully do, is nothing. I need to let Evan be Evan and let the world experience all of that. Even more difficult, I need to let Evan figure out what it is that will work for her. What will spark a fire inside that beautiful head of hers. What will motivate her to want to focus, cooperate and share. I need to trust that people will receive her, cherish her, and value her just like I do. And the world needs to trust that if they don’t, likely her and her sister will punch them in the face.