The Tuesday Folder

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:1618

 

Ever since I have started this blog, I have not written too much about my children.  I chose to do this because their lives are theirs, and I don’t think they would always want their business out there on the internet.  That said, I want to talk a little bit about them today.  For now, we will just call them Little King, Beloved, and Princess.

Becoming a mother was much harder than I had ever imagined.  As I mentioned before, I suffered from Post Partum Depression.  Gone were my fantasies of putting my baby into the jogging stroller at 7:00 a.m. while a perfectly fit me jogged down to Starbucks for my Grande Peppermint Mocha.  I was lucky if I could even get a shower and make it through a day without crying.  Then, after having an ectopic pregnancy that was life threatening, I worried if I would only have one child.  But God had other plans.  Now I have my precious three here and that little one I lost in the ectopic who is in heaven.

I soon grew to love my new role as mother.  But I was literally astounded at how hard it was.  As my friend, Kathleen says, “I did my best parenting before I had children.”  As a singleton, I was arrogant.  As a mother I wanted to go back to my own mother and apologize for everything ever.  I never knew the trials of motherhood.  The pain, the pure joy.

Now, suffice it to say, my kids have had some issues.  Little King got a diagnosis of ADHD in first grade.  Severe ADHD.  My brilliant child, who spoke sentences at 15 months, couldn’t seem to get any work done.  Then came the questioning from other parents, maybe I just didn’t discipline him enough.  Maybe I was feeding him all the wrong things.  Whatever the case, it was DEFINITELY my fault.  At least that is how I felt anyway.

Beloved, went to pre-school for three years and never spoke a word.  He spoke at home.  But not at school.  Alas, after some research, he too had a diagnosis.  Selective Mutism.  An anxiety disorder, rooted in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  This must also be my fault.  I was the anxious parent, I must have passed it on to him!

So again, being a mother is not all rosy all the time, because it is hard.  But as all parents out there know, it is so worth it.  We consulted Doctors, medical advice, and alternative medicine, for our boys.  After a year of pretty intensive therapy that me and my husband took (our Doctor said it would be useless for Beloved to be in therapy because he didn’t speak, so me and my husband took it and implemented what was taught to us), Beloved started speaking and he never looked back.  He is now our most outgoing child.  I was THRILLED when I got a note home in Kindergarten that Beloved was talking too much in class.  That was a huge victory for us.

As is the case with ADHD, Little King, has struggled every year in school in certain areas.  We have a plan for him.  He is actually gifted in certain areas, but things like organization and working memory, are not among those gifted areas.  It is a constant struggle.   Trying to balance discipline without breaking his spirit.  What is he capable of and what can he really not help.  I pray often about this.

This brings me to my main point today for writing.  The Tuesday folder.  Tuesday is the day the school sends home all of their work from the previous week.  Parents are to look at it and sign it and send it back so the teachers know they are aware of how their child is doing.  I have hated the Tuesday folder.

The Tuesday folder had become the nemesis that I dreaded getting.  I have often fantasized about what it would be like to open a Tuesday folder and see all 100% and feeling the pangs of jealousy toward those parents who did open theirs to find that.  The Tuesday folder was the marker for inadequacy in my family.  Inadequacy for all of us.  To be fair, my children really don’t always do that poorly in school, but let’s just say there aren’t all A’s.  Sixth grade for Little King has been particularly challenging.  I have been known to state, “I hate sixth grade.”  I am sure my son has felt something similar.

I was talking to one of the sixth grade teachers yesterday and I found myself complaining.  I said out loud, “I hate Tuesday.”  After I got in the car, I was a little embarrassed that I had verbalized that.  I started to remember how I had vowed to be Thankful in All things.  I thought, how can I be thankful for the Tuesday folder?

It dawned on me that the Tuesday folder has actually taught my children a very valuable lesson.  They know that I want them to do well and succeed in school, but they also know that no matter what mom and dad open up and find in the Tuesday folder, they are loved, unconditionally.  My love for them does not depend on what the piece of paper says.  My love for them is for every part of them.  Every inattentive, anxious part of them.  They have learned that if they fail something the world doesn’t stop turning.  That sometimes failure opens up a new way of learning or a new door.  I don’t know what Little King or Beloved will grow up to be, but whatever it is, be it a ditch digger or a rocket scientist, they are loved.  The Tuesday folder is just one very tiny small part in the journey of their souls.  I know the teachers who send home the Tuesday folder have said that they pray every day for my children and I feel blessed about that.  So I have decided not to fear the Tuesday folder, not to feel the inadequacy of it, but to embrace it, because it makes me show my children unconditional love.  I know God has big plans for them and He is shaping their souls into hopefully holy little people.

I did not mention Princess too much this post.  She is only in Pre-K.  When I got pregnant with her my prayer was simple, “healthy please Lord with no issues.”  So far, that has been the case for her.  But even if she ends up with issues, I will love her unconditionally.  No matter what is in her Tuesday folder.

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About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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4 Responses to The Tuesday Folder

  1. If someone you love is suffering from Selective Mutism, we found help here; http://www.social-anxiety.com/jonathan-berent-l-c-s-w-a-c-s-w/
    It was expensive, but well worth the money. We followed EVERYTHING he said. It was very hard, but it worked.

    If someone you love suffers from ADHD and you don’t want traditional medication, we found help here; http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/
    We have followed EVERYTHING they said, and it is hard also, particularly the diet change. While it was not a complete cure, the improvement in the quality of life has been worth it. Again, expensive though.

  2. Pingback: The Healing Mass | Veil of Veronica

  3. D says:

    we have a son who is now 25 yrs old, and was diagnosed with some form of cognitive processing issue that made elementary and highschool years very very difficult. However, he too was talking huge sentences at an extremely young age, and showed very high scores on some points of his psychological testing which somehow indicated areas of “giftedness” inside of his inability to process information that was delivered to him in “standard” ways. It was difficult in school, and difficult at home. We worked together to find his “niche”….by Gr. 8 he was working on more complex “science projects” at home and because I have a musical background he took piano lessons, although traditional classical teachers did not work for him…we found him someone who taught him jazz standard chords, scales and improvisation techniques and he excelled there. So he went on to continue doing more creative science projects that he entered into science fairs, made it to the national and international science fairs and was successful there, winning medals in his category of environmental science. He never was an honours student in highschool (just missing 80% by 2 or 3 %), but was well liked by everyone, not a trouble maker, but could never sit still in a “normal” classroom…left his stuff everywhere, including a stockpile in the highschool chaplain’s office, that is still there I think, lol….He was born late in the year, and after 4 years of highschool, he decided on his own that he wanted to repeat certain highschool subjects in an additional year of highschool, not an uncommon practice in our area at the time, as our canadian provincial government had just reduced the highschool years from 5 years to 4 years, so it was not an uncommon choice for graduating students to take a “victory lap” as it was called. So when he was ready for post secondary education, he had the marks to get offers to two good universities for environmental science, and an impressive resume that had developed because of his extracurricular “hobby” of science fair projects that led him to summer jobs that were related to his science project research (air quality). He failed first year chemistry (yikes…), redid it in the second year, but by the 3rd and fourth year, seemed to develop a certain “cognitive maturity” where he had learned how to cope with his cognitive processing issues, and was beginning to get excellent marks. We had been told by his highschool math teacher that certain students often need time to develop “math maturity”, and we certainly saw that with him, which also included his ability to grasp chemistry. By the end of 4 years university he graduated “summa cum laude” with a BSc in Environmental Science, and because he is such an amazing “talker” with a solid resume, he was offered positions at a number of different places he applied to beginning right after graduation. Today he is employed as an environmental scientist for a private consulting firm, and they would like him to launch an air quality division, based on his great working record and his previous jobs on his resume as an older teenager that included being a technical intern for an air quality monitoring firm, and a summer student employee of an environmental “watchdog” kind of firm. He is working on a geological designation as well that is the equivalent of a P.Eng. He still has organizational and processing issues, but he knows how to work with them. When he was young, his issues were significant enough for the pediatrician to suggest medicating him, but even he, at 10 yrs of age refused medication, and I did not want that either for him, because his issues were significant, but not horribly severe. I have sent you this much information because I want to express that I have seen that children learn to live with their issues, and if they can find their “niche” I believe through what I have seen with my oldest son, that they learn what they need through their niche, as well as through their struggles in school. This is not to say we have not had very tough moments in our lives together. But he too learned to know what his gifts were, and was persistent in developing them and learning through them. Most importantly, as I look back, I see how through God’s grace, we recognized and latched onto certain opportunities for him. He is the oldest of our 4 children….we still joke about him not coping with “phone books or dictionaries” very well, so don’t ask him, even now, to “look up” someone’s phone number in a book….The other 3 children did not exhibit learning/processing issues. I often say he was harder to raise than all 3 other kids put together! But he is incredibly creative, an out of the box thinker, and everyone seems to have more fun when he is around because he is a leader and always thinking of crazy, “on the edge” sorts of things to do….What we define as “normal” is very very restricting some times….I too dreaded the equivalent of the “Tuesday folder”….it was never good, but there were other things that were working elsewhere that always gave me hope for the future….and I prayed constantly! Thank you for sharing your story and for your recognition of the gifts of the Tuesday folder…God bless you and your beautiful family…

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