Sunday, June 5, 2011

On a different path

"It's so hard for him to learn," I told D'Arcy today.

I had hoped that Ben could benefit from the Kumon reading books his brother is doing. He did well circling or pointing to the answers with one of them.

But today when I tried to get him to do a second book, he couldn't focus and was disinterested. I could hear frustration mount in my voice as I tried to get him to do something he didn't want to do.

I felt defeated then and gloomy about Ben's future.

"He can learn, just not as fast as you'd like him to," D'Arcy said later.

It was a beautiful day with brilliant sun and we were walking through a wooded area. But I couldn't enjoy the sun -- or the lapping water or the frogs singing to each other -- because I was carrying my own black cloud around with me.

How can I be happy if my son can't read at a certain level? And express his thoughts through writing?

Maybe I can't push Ben's development forward, I thought. And maybe things like reading aren't important to him. Maybe he's on a different path, and who am I to force him down mine?

He is happy. So why can't I be happy for him?

I believe that happiness is a choice, one that can be chosen in any circumstance when we embrace life as it is, instead of fighting against it.

What do you think?


I think happiness is as fleeting and ephemeral as anything else. When we try for it or try to cling to it or desire it, it leaves us. That sounds a bit trite, I guess, but I've found it so. It gets more complex when one is a mother, I think -- the joys are more intense as are the sorrows. I like to think that when I am happy, I am grateful because I know that it's not forever. And I try not to despair, either, because sadness is just as quick to disappear.

I don't think I am going to be too happy if Julia can't read, but I don't think there is too much I can do about it.
acceptance as a route to happiness?

I agree with Anon/Lisa. I just have to accept that it is what it is. Ever since I ceased the desire for myself and enjoyed the moments that my child is smiling, laughing, living happy, that's enough. I know it's simple to forget there's so much more we're doing for our children we don't think about and they are taking all that in as part of their growth.

Okay, Louise. It's official, "School or no School, 'I'm not going to stop writing' --I just love you guy's too much, and it's what I do!

So, Ben can't read. It's tough and it hurts; you're doubting whether you are a good mother--whether you could have done more in some way-- and are contemplating all the barriers to inclusion and independence. However, you have not been beaten, defeated or rendered powerless. You have another option: "The Capability Approach".

Now, I understand this option isn't for everyone. In fact, parents and people with disabilities (I hate this term, but use it for clarity) will argue against it, but one may be able to live a more fulfilling life. For instance, I use to attend the University Of Toronto, but had to withdraw due to the limitatations of my disability. Today, I am enrolled at George Brown College, while also preparing for surgery, and envision myself writing and advocating for others well into the future. For, I will forever remain an intellectual at heart.

Nontheless, I must admit, "Most of my knowledge has been acquired outside of school or from reading for myself." I have found other pathways, which hopefully will allow me to live my life, instead of merely surviving. This is also what I think Ben should do. We can always read for him, as he learns some new words along the way. Truth be told, "I already read for my brother, and he loves it." But, when I haven't seen him in awhile or checked my messages, he'll text me to say, "How R U?" This is more than enough for me.


P.S. Can we take Ben fishing, somehow?