I have been in a funk in the past few days. Our 13-year-old son, who has learning disabilities, is struggling in eighth grade. The end of the first marking period is Monday and in every class he has work he has not completed, has lost, has hidden some place in his binder and can't find or forgets to turn in.
This afternoon, I spent about three hours with him after school, going over what he needs to do next. He is so very discouraged, feels so badly about all he has left undone and all he has done and lost. There were tears from him, and angry outbursts from him about the unfairness of the teachers' demands.
Somehow, this afternoon I was graced with deep well of patience, the kind of patience I easily show all day long to class after class of special education students at the high school where I teach but which often eludes me at home.
At school, I'm a teacher but it isn't hard for me to tap into the part of me that is a mom. They feel free to tell me about their trips to the mall, their new video games, their bossy older brothers and the new baby they think is taking up far too much attention.
When I pull into my driveway at home at the end of the school day, I'm mom. I sometimes forget that I am still a teacher too. Maybe it's all the praying I have been doing for our son, maybe it was the decent night's sleep I got last night, or maybe it is just God gracing me with exactly what our son needs, but I am so thankful for the time we spent together this afternoon and the time we are spending right now as he finishes up some work after his 90-minute soccer practice tonight.
Not only was I graced with patience, I also was given a glimpse of what makes our son so delightful. As I was going over to a desk in the family room to turn on the light as the sun was fading this afternoon, I found this.
Later, when I asked him about the drawing, he explained, sheepishly, that he wants to make a Dr. Who movie with his friends and that he is drawing out the characters. Whether he and his buddies make this movie doesn't matter. The drawing and the dream are reminders that no matter how tough and unappealing school is for our son, there is still a place, a very human place, in his heart where imagination and joy are dancing.