I, and we have overcome quite a bit these last few years. Obviously the brain tumor is on the top of the list, but the list is long and filled with a lot of challenges we or I’ve managed to overcome.
To say the journey is complete, there are no daily challenges or emotional obstacles would be a lie. This life we live is a marathon and we’ve found our pace and are running with it.
However, when you’re buried deep, living your own life journey, facing obstacles and challenges that must be overcome, you lose sight. You lose sight of the significance the mere ability to keep moving forward and putting one foot in front of another has in your own life but in the lives of others.
You lose sight until you see another doing the very same thing and walking next to you. Being so deeply buried myself, I’d lost sight of what it means to overcome and how we get there until the past few weeks.
Our family is no stranger to change. Some changes are small and other changes come in the form of massive earthquakes. Somewhere in-between, we’ve settled into accepting that change is good and certainly keeps everything interesting and inevitably something to write about.
I’ve been walking with my son on a journey for quite some time.
While I entirely understand his journey because it is also mine, his path is vastly different than mine was. We both share a diagnosis of dyslexia and in some areas identical learning disabilities. Along with the blue eyes and blond hair, ability to internalize emotions and the kind heart I passed onto him, came the genetic code of my learning disabilities or what I simply see as challenges.
Yin and yang of life.
Change for him will come in the form of a new private school in the fall. Gone will be the comforts of a bus and school full of friends, familiar faces in the cafeteria and a familiar routine. Change will be monumental. Change for him will be a big pill to swallow.
While I know he’s excited and optimistic about the success he’ll enjoy being a part of an environment where learning is directed in the format and environment best for him, it will be a difficult walk to make. I know he’s excited about the opportunity to learn in an environment where he’ll no longer be a part of the minority who leave their classrooms to receive support and are ultimately left to feel out-of-place, different and in his case, questioning if he’s smart.
He understands the opportunity this change affords him, yet his hesitation is palpable. He has begun to overcome, however he has yet to realize or recognize this yet.
I know his journey all too well. I know the frustrations and I share in the personal defeat he often feels. I’ve been there and I do understand. While I never had the opportunity to attend a private school designed for children like Tucker, I do recognize what a profound impact this opportunity and change will have for him. He’ll go farther faster and find his self-esteem, courage, self-worth, motivation, independence and can-do attitude years before I, at his age, ever imagined these feeling and emotions existed.
It’s been difficult to watch and walk with him through this. I understand and can relate to so much, yet I could never provide the help he needed. If not for the exceptional work of Nancy, his tutor, for the better part of almost two years, the road to where he is now would have been much more difficult. He likely would not have found a path to success as readily and I would have had an even bigger broken heart from my inability to help. My love, hugs, encouraging words and smiles go only so far when he needed specialized instruction, training and knowledge that I didn’t possess.
It was bittersweet to watch the bus pull in at the end of the driveway this afternoon. Bittersweet because I knew he would likely never ride the bus again. Bittersweet because I knew he was not only walking off the bus as a rising 3rd grader, but as a rising 3rd grader walking off the bus to begin a new journey. Bittersweet because I see behind the cheers and enthusiasm for the end of the year live tears about a new school and new friends, fear of the unknown and a real and spoken fear of losing the friends that he’s spent three years making.
I’m grateful for summer. I am grateful for the time that summer brings and the distance it always puts between the school years. I know the day will come for him to walk through the doors to a new school in a mere matter of months, yet I know in all my eternal motherly wisdom, that the mere matter of months will also bring a level of comfort that time so eloquently delivers to all of us.
To me, the concept of overcoming is not about getting over something or putting it behind you. For myself, our family and specifically Tucker, overcoming is about facing your challenges head on. Acknowledging your fears, your hesitations, your questions and your emotions and dealing with them honestly. He will overcome, this I know. He will overcome and his journey will be the proving grounds, like it was for me, where he will one day find the strength and courage to face his future challenges.
I know that my journey with my dyslexia and learning disability shaped me into the individual I am today. Like the brain tumor diagnosis, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The experience and the obstacles I climbed provided a great proving ground for gaining perspective on life and what it really means to overcome. In recent years, I drew from those proving grounds and it was there that found my resilience and fight I needed in facing my brain tumor diagnosis.
To overcome takes time and is a long and arduous process. Yet, when all is said and done, time is on our side. Trust me.
Please know Tucker, that when I’m at a loss for words and desperately hoping you’ll find comfort in my hugs, encouragement, support and love, that you’ll know I’m with you by your side.
May time accomplish what no words can do. You have overcome and you will overcome. It’s in your genetic code.