We take everything at face value at first, all the while searching for clues and digging ever deeper as we draw closer and closer to one another and learn more about each other. We do not start with true blank slates, but in some odd way we actually do as we have no preconceived notions based upon inherited qualities or characteristics. Many of us spend years and years trying to sort through issues, trying to untangle a web of pre-institutional harm and institutional neglect. Our children are affected profoundly by the things we know...lack of early stimulation, malnutrition, inadequate human contact, and so much more. They are also impacted by those things we will never have full knowledge of. Late at night we find ourselves in the age old "which came first, the chicken or the egg..." inner dialogues as we try to wrap our mind around puzzling issues which seem to have no concrete explanations.
Today, Kenny was the enigma on paper, as I attended his IEP meeting with the special education team after a battery of tests was performed last week. Though not present with us, I felt his hand gently laid across my shoulder as I stood in for him, gathering information, taking notes, and processing what I was hearing. I came away with more of an understanding of the challenges we face in the future, and hurting and conflicted for our dear son. Tonight a heaviness has settled in, and I am trying hard to battle it but for the next few days I think it will prove too difficult and I might just have to sit and rest in certain knowledge for awhile before deciding upon an approach I can live with.
Test scores are numbers that can change our entire perception...and our destination in life. We can live and die by them, letting them dictate so much of our inner conversations with ourselves, or we can take them for what they are, numbers on a page which speak some truth but do not account for the unmeasurable...the unique spirit within each of us. There will be information from this meeting that will not be shared with Kenny until adulthood, for it would forever change his sense of self. By adulthood, if blessed, perhaps we will be able to laugh over the absurdity of what was implied by a number typed on a page.
But now Dominick and I must somehow move backward in time to a place of blissful ignorance, where we would not have results and data and would just see Kenny for who he is, an amazingly thoughtful, deep, intelligent little guy who has thus far defied all odds. But within that desire to step back, we have to retain pieces and parts to work with, and determine what modifications are useful, what will success look like for Kenny, and how will we help him achieve it.
This will not be easy, and the world is colored a hazy gray at the moment. I know it won't last, but it will take a lot of creativity, intentionality, and perseverance to bring on the return of the rainbow.
As God is my witness here tonight, I will see to it that Kenny becomes all God intended him to be, and will disregard any test results that tell me his future is bleak. I will take away only that which can be productively used, and sweep the rest under the rug for now. Oh, I'll still know it is there and won't likely ever forget, but he won't see it there until one day we air out the rug and then we can maybe even smirk a bit and say "We proved them all wrong!!".
Heart, guts and passion are what breeds success. Diligence, support and effort create "winners".
God has Kenny in huge palms, cradled and secure. I can let this go, I can trust my gut instinct which says something is not quite right here, and I can proceed on knowing that what man dictates, God laughs at. Kenny has purpose and gifts to share. It is up to us to draw out strengths and capitalize on them, and they ARE numerous. No one will work harder than both Kenny and I, we are in this together.
I promise you, my son, you will get the best of me. We'll turn our backs on conventional wisdom and keep on doing what we are doing, working towards your brilliantly bright future. Keep on reading about Bill Gates and other successful entrepreneurs. You'll be one of them someday, but you have to believe it...just as I believe in you.