Monday, July 29, 2013

Dear Son

Dear Son,

My bright, interesting boy. Today, I wonder, if maybe I understand you just a little bit more.

You have big dreams to match your big potential. The first time we had you tested and you tested intellectually gifted, we were so excited and proud. We are still proud, but we had no idea what struggles you would go through in mainstream school.

I'm sorry that we have not found a better option for you.

Those dreams of yours. Those expectations you have of yourself. They are crushed just a little every time you struggle with something that doesn't come as easily to you as you think it should. I know you've been bored at school and that takes away your desire to work. I've always understood that. But then there's the frustration of not completely ingesting information the first time you hear or read it, and that makes you shut down too. That was always my frustration as your mom. Where my inclination was to tell you just to work a little harder and you would get it and do fine.

But now, as I sit here, trying to write a paper on something that I think should come easily to me, I find myself wanting to run. My brain feels tired just thinking about the information I have to slog through just to get this paper written. And in the back of my mind, I am worried that I will not do a good job. What if I don't ace this thing? What does that say about my abilities? Because of some naive educational decisions I made when I was younger, I've had to start fresh. Now in my mid-thirties, I'm taking undergraduate sophomore classes when I want to be working on my masters or my doctorate.

My pride is bruised just a little. And I expect perfection from myself, taking courses that are so similar to ones I took 15 year ago.

You see, dear boy, I have big expectations for myself too. I did not fully understand them when I was making the life decisions that took me on the path I am on today, but thanks to your father's understanding, I have a second chance. And as I read about intellectual greats and the impact they've made on this world, I want to do the same. I want to contribute intellectually somehow. It's a pipe dream, I know. But it is what is in my core. It is my deepest, most secret dream (that is now on the internet for all to read). I know you feel this way too.

The voice in the back of my head tells me that if I can't even find this easy, if I can't, after one reading, explain the difference between two concepts easily and comprehensively, then there is no hope for me. Perhaps, I should just give up and embrace being a housewife and mom. There's always volunteering. There's lots of things I can contribute to this world that doesn't require a doctoral degree.

I am not as brilliant as the greats I am studying right now (heck, I'm not as brilliant as you), but in my gut, I feel like I have something to add. So I will keep going as long as I can.

Let's make a deal, my boy. I will work on my self doubt if you will work on yours. And when we feel discouraged, we will remember that hard work is as important as brain power. You and I can both realize our dreams if we try.

I love you forever and always and no matter what.


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