It was a bright and sunny day but all I saw was dark clouds as I sat inside the school psychologist’s office looking with my son’s test results. “Your son’s behavioral problems can cause him to get in serious trouble later in life if they are not dealt with now. There are jails full of people without impulse control”, she said. Imagine finding out one day that your child has serious emotional problems and delays, after balancing a high pressure career and motherhood for so many years.
That day, I was devastated to find out the news. My bright and energetic son could read sentences and count to 30, but couldn’t control himself enough to be in the same room with other children. He couldn’t handle daycare, or a regular preschool classroom. Simple questions were tough for him to answer. I felt like a failure, like giving up, like the hours I spent as a mom teaching and nurturing him had done nothing for him.
“Even if you quit your job and work with him all day long he’ll still be the same. It’s his personality. It doesn’t matter,” family told me over and over. “We’d hate to see you quit. You have so much potential. We don’t want your talents to go to waste,” my boss at work told me. I was making more money than ever before in my career, but it no longer felt right.
That afternoon I looked in my handsome son’s bright blue eyes and saw my reflection. If I didn’t try to help him, who would? He’d had different daycare teachers over the years, even a relative who had cared for him during the day. After a time I came to recognize the tight lipped smile they had as he arrive each morning, the way he was left sitting alone when I dropped by to check on him. You couldn’t pay someone else enough to care. Not with the heart of a mother.
I gave my boss my resignation over the phone that afternoon. It was the toughest decision I had ever made. I didn’t know how I would make enough to pay my share of the bills I was responsible for, or how I was going to help this little boy I loved. It is nearly a year later, and we have been working hard together, my little boy and I. He is able to sit in class during circle time and makes friends on the playground. He is learning to speak articulately and express himself. We have spent hours learning, interacting, talking, playing, making mistakes and starting over, both of us. I have learned much myself. I learned to run my own business from home, but more importantly, to be this little boy’s confidante, his teacher, his safe refuge. Because of my sacrifice, there is hope where there once was despair for this boy.
Parenting is full of tough decisions, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are times when we have to decide what is most important in life. Regardless of the reason, nothing in the world can replace raising your own children and spending those precious years with them.
I was fortunate enough to stay home until my younger son was in school full time and then had a job that put me at home the same time my children arrived home from school. Sure, there were things we gave up. But, was it worth it?
My younger son was killed by a drunk driver at 23 years old. I will not be able to share the rest of my life with him – but I shared 23 years with him as closely as he could tolerate and still become a man. No regrets.
What are your thoughts?