Parker came down in his church clothes today. Thinking he was confused I laughed while informing him it was only Friday. He then told me it was awards day, but only for the students... no parents allowed!!! Now who ever heard of that??? Well, not me so I called the school and sure enough --- no parents allowed. Parker pleaded to stay home just in case he won something, telling me it was horribly scary to accept an award in front of the entire school --- all of the 7th and 8th graders --- and if I made him go he would pray super hard so he wouldn't be awarded anything. Sadly, I was the mean mom and told him he still had to go.
When he walked in the door after school he was beaming with a ginormous smile... "Mom! Mom! Mom! I faced one of my biggest fears!!! Look!" He pulled out a manila envelope and opened it. He took out a certificate and a medal for Excellence in Math! I couldn't be more proud of my little man.
Parker is an extremely high functioning aspergher's child. He's always known of his eating issues and tactile issues. He knows the stories of therapy done to help him eat, wear clothes and deal with anxiety and melt downs as well as all other things surrounding his "aspie-ness"... but he didn't know he was an aspie until last year when he asked me why he was different. I hadn't told him his "label" simply because I and his Dr. know my little man and we didn't want to give him one more thing to obsess over and worry about. I've seen how mean other kids AND adults can be to a child who doesn't fit into the norm and no way was I going to "label" him so he could be made to feel he was anything other than amazing.
When Parker came to me wanting to know why he didn't feel like he was the same as everyone else I knew it was time to explain all the struggles he's pushed through since birth. I told him being an aspie is an amazing gift. It means he's smart and gives him some pretty awesome advantages, but that doesn't mean he won't struggle in things that others find easy. It means while most the world thinks like a PC he gets to think like and Apple and that's a crazy special thing! I told him he's not allowed to use it as a crutch or an excuse ever because I expect more from him than that. I explained I still expected everything and more from him. The world is a cruel and hard place that won't make exceptions for him... so we are prepping for the future with a no excuse attitude. Strangely enough this little talk empowered him and he went full bore, fully focused and ready to prove me to be more right than I ever knew I could be.
So why is this award such a crazy amazingly awesome thing???? Well other than the fact it's an honor for anyone... Parker has struggled in Math and English since forever. This year he moved forward leaps and bounds. He's exceeded every goal and academic dream he had for himself. His reading scores went from a 5th grade level to an 8th grade level within the first half of the first term and he was moved into a regular English class!!! With me on my 4th go in my UVU math course it was a race to see who could do better. I passed this time, but he far surpassed me.... And that's why this is such a crazy amazing awesome award.