“Do you want my opinion?”
I glanced up at the honest abruptness of her question. We were standing in the shade by a large field. She was filling small paper cups with water for sweaty, smiling children.
It was Field Day.
“I think you should move him to 2nd grade. Academics? We can work on that.” She paused to give a kindergartner a high five. “But holding him back? Living in the shadow of your twin brother who will always be ahead of you in school? That’s not something you recover from.”
I nodded, taking it all in. She was echoing everything Aaron and I had been discussing for weeks.
On one hand, I didn’t know if Benji was academically ready for 2nd grade. He could not read. He struggled with handwriting, spelling, and math. I didn’t want his already broken confidence to be shattered even more by the demands of 2nd grade.
But my heart was broken by the alternative when I looked into the future. What about when Micah went to middle school and Benji was still in Elementary school? Or graduation day…I imagined Benji standing in the audience as Micah crossed the stage to receive his diploma.
The image was enough to bring tears to my eyes.
They already felt the pressure of comparison. We didn’t want to create more of a wedge in their special twin relationship.
No, academics aside, it was essential to preserve their relationship as brothers, as twins.
That was sacred.
So we knew which way we were leaning, but we held off making a decision until the Child Study results meeting on June 24.
Have I mentioned that the waiting almost killed me during this process? It bears repeating.
The waiting was horrible. Honestly, I can’t think of a strong enough word.
It was really bad.
I needed to know the results of the Child Study NOW.
Surprisingly, a few days before our Eligibility Meeting, the special education teacher called and said she had his results: Would I like her to bring them by the house?
Yes, yes please.
And then I had it–a fat manila envelop full of papers: The test results.
Ironically, I had to wait until nap time that day to tear into it. #ThatsMotherhood
I read, paper after paper, test after test.
I devoured each word.
I was ready for the Eligibility Meeting.
The results were pretty clear: His abilities (average to above average) did not match with his school performance (below average).
At the meeting, we learned that his official diagnosis was Language Processing Learning Disability.
He would qualify for Special Education Services.
We spent the next 2 hours discussing the details of the tests.
It was such a relief.
And it made our second decision so much easier.
Since Benji would get services that addressed his unique learning needs in the coming year, we officially made the decision to move him to 2nd grade.
Those results, the ones I was so anxious about? They didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know (minus 1-2 interesting things he said on a particular test).
The contents of that manila envelope and the whole Eligibility Meeting simply confirmed everything I already knew about my son.
I already knew every facet, every quirk, every struggle, every learning challenge, every self-esteem issue that the tests revealed.
I knew…because I know my child.
I was right: He needed help.
I did that.
And I felt like a damn fine mother in that moment.