I see you. I see the real you. The person that most do not see, because they do not look past the haze of their own assumptions and judgement. I know you and the potential that you have to accomplish wonderful things. I hope that you will meet that potential and give him a ‘good day!’ from me as you soar past your wildest dreams. I know that you can beat the odds – that you can tamp down the internal struggles into something real and wonderful.
I know that most days, you do not believe in yourself. That you have absorbed the message from those around you who react negatively to your behaviors. They assume that you are a bad kid because you don’t wear a label on your shirt proclaiming “Invisible Disabilities!” for all to see. And some of them don’t even believe in those disabilities, and would rather place blame instead.
“Kids these days!” or “Back when I was a kid, I was spanked and it didn’t harm me.” “Stop babying him and teach him to be a man!” All that and more, they think. All that and more they say sometimes. Or sometimes, they just glare. They silently radiate their disapproval from across the room. How dare you be different?
I remember when you told me you thought you were addicted to misbehavior. Because you just couldn’t stop yourself. I remember a tear quivering in my eye, voice catching in my throat, assuring you that you are not addicted to misbehaviors and that you can learn to control yourself. I wish those people judging you could have heard you then: that sad, little boy voice resigned to a life of failure, blaming himself for it.
I thank the universe over and over that you are our child. That you are in our family: an understanding, patient, loving family who gets you. Because if you were growing up in one of those “perfect” families with rigid rules and fierce pride in reputation, you would be miserable. You would be suicidal.
I see you living life exuberantly and joyfully, despite your struggles. I see your intense curiosity and deep thought process. I see you struggle with a problem until you find a solution, and your pride at success. I see you share with your friends and siblings, and I rejoice in your giving heart. You’re not just a smart kid, you’re a caring kid that I am so proud of.
When I was sick the other day, you covered me with a blanket and whispered “I hope you feel better mom.” I wanted to cry – because that show of empathy seemed impossible even a year ago. A year ago we worried, concerned that your seeming lack of empathy covered up a diagnosis we dreaded. We fought to teach you how to express emotions and read body language, and you learned. Learned a little too well, actually.
I see your giftedness, and I know that in a public school it would be driven deep into hiding by the school’s focus on behavioral issues. They would demand medications, we would fight over an IEP, and in the mix and scuffle you would be lost. Your curiosity and intellect would be skimmed over by concern about conformity. You don’t fit in a neat little box and we know this. You know this.
I promise that I will be your advocate to doctors and teachers, to help them understand who you are and how you work. I will work to help them understand twice exceptionality instead of passively letting them slap labels on you and dole out medications in a helpless attempt to control what they see. I will talk until I am blue in the face and I will educate, so that hopefully the next time they meet a child like you, they will consider all of the possibilities.
You see that you are different. You see that you are unique. And despite our best efforts, you think that’s a bad thing. It’s not, son. It’s so very much ok to be different that I don’t know how else to define it for you. You’re growing up into a young man, and I want you to be you. Not to worry about what others think, not to concern yourself with how others act. To be you.
I see you son – all of you. The misunderstood, the misdiagnosed, the invisible gifted child. And I love you. All of you, even the infuriating parts. Don’t think you can hide who you are, because I will drag you out of the shadows and push you into your dreams. I will walk beside you and support you, and I will help you succeed even when you think it’s too hard.
I see you, son. I understand you. Don’t give up.
This post is part of the GHF blog hop: The Invisible Gifted Child: Mislabeled, Misdiagnosed, Unidentified, and Misunderstood. Please click the image or the link to read more posts on this subject.