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On healing, giving thanks, and dyslexia

Healing

This past week, I lost a least 100 pounds, or so it felt like.

In an unexpected and terribly powerful swoosh of love, I somehow was finally able to let go of an inner demon that has haunted me for a good ten years. There is no need to delve into the specifics, but just know that this was a fear/worry that in many ways was always lurking underneath even my most sincerest of  smiles and happiest and buoyant of days.

After a couple of recent sessions with a therapist healer/friend of mine as well as two separate conversations with two different highly intuitive women that both know and love me so well,

this 10-year-old daunting monster effectively and suddenly melted into a wimpy Wicked Witch of the West puddle.

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monster drawing by George

Here’s the thing. Sometimes healing takes time, sometimes even years and years and years, and we may begin to feel that we will always be trapped and stuck and hurting,

Yet, often we just need to have many layers of experiences before we can be truly ready to let something big go.

Then….sometimes the letting go is quick and dramatic as it was for me this week, or sometimes it is slow and steady….

BUT, peace is always available to the willing, the persistent and the open-hearted.

That, I know.

Giving Thanks

I will never forget my neighbour once saying to me that she never quite got over the feeling of being in loving awe of her children. Every new phase and age holds precious gifts.

I remember, too, my mom saying that mothering a 30-year-old was as interesting and wonderful as mothering a child,

which makes sense to me now as our Alex is in her 20s and our relationship with her only continues to evolve.

So, on this weekend of giving thanks and whatever the particulars of the relationships in your life,

may we celebrate all of the ages and phases of all of our loved ones and  again reaffirm the notion,

that in whatever form it may find itself in,

family is everything and abundance is only ever really about love.

wedding table

Dyslexia

I am on a bit of a quest to begin talking about dyslexia and parenting sensitive kids.

Though I taught elementary school for almost 10 years, it has been my mothering experiences that have really forced me to look at these issues from the inside out.

We desperately need to have real conversations about the related  and complex challenges that many kids and parents face.

Just this week I heard personal stories of three local families that are  struggling with their middle-school aged children having major anxiety related to sensitivity or a learning disability.

When I am discussing dyslexia, please note a few things:

1) I am speaking from the perspective of an educated parent who has done her research but I am not an expert.

2) My daughter is vivacious and capable and happy. She has dyslexia and she is highly sensitive, but these things are only parts of what make up the wonder of her being. She is fine with me writing about dyslexia, because she wants people to understand what the world feels like for people like her.

3) I use the word dyslexia for lack of a better word. It is a blanket term that can mean all sorts of things to different people. Depending on who you talk to and where you live, dyslexia is either the proper term, layman’s language, in vogue educationally or not. Regardless, it is usually used to talk about kids who have trouble learning how to read, spell, and may often struggle with math, despite having at least average intelligence. They are often bright sensitive kids who just learn differently and they often shine in creative areas.

The 2 biggest awarenesses that I have had in the last 5 years about dyslexia have been, ironically, about how I need to frame things.

1) Kids with dyslexia need to feel accepted.

They spend a colossal amount of time and energy having to catch up, work harder, and create their own innovative ways of coping. They are smart enough to know that they are different and this causes them no end of grief. Moving through a world that emphasizes academics can slowly and surely chip away at their self-esteem, so what my daughter needs to hear from me is,

‘I love you just the way you are. To me, you are perfect and I would not change a thing about you.’

2) Kids with dyslexia need to have their worries validated, because to them their worries and struggles are very real.

This morning when I dropped my girl off at school, I said to her,

‘I know this is hard. I want you to know that all of the things that you worry about are totally real, and I support you.’

That’s it. I could see her face, her heart, her soul,            relax,

completely ~

all because I didn’t say this time,

‘You will be fine. It’s not that bad. It’s not a big deal. Just don’t worry so much about it.’

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There’s so much more to say, and there’s tons of hope and light in it all,

but for now let’s call this conversation opened.

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I am reading this right now and highly recommend it. Beautiful, powerful insights!

Happy, happy weekend of giving thanks and celebrating abundance!

 

 

10 thoughts on “On healing, giving thanks, and dyslexia

  1. Wow, this was a wonderful post and I stumbled across it at the best moment possible (ah, there are no accidents, right?).

    It seems we have much in common: Canadian, mothers, children (a child, in my case) with unique learning perspectives, a child in middle school (in particular, daughters), and we are daughters who have said goodbye to our mothers.

    I read what you said about your daughter’s perspective on school – the time and energy it consumes to just show up, every day, in an environment that is so demanding, and the wear and tear that takes on a young soul – and it resonated so true for me and my experiences with my daughter. And so at a particularly trying moment, when she was gripped by the fear and frustration of tackling her math homework, I read what you wrote to her in that paragraph. And I read to her what you said to your daughter, about loving her as she is. Acknowledging my daugher’s pain and struggle, and saying out loud, those words of acceptance, resonated with her, because she was able to calm herself. And then I said it again. I know in my heart that two things happened for her: one, she heard me validating her experience and she heard me accept her as she is. And two, through your words, she could imagine there was someone else out there that felt the way she felt, and she took comfort in knowing she wasn’t alone. The same comfort I took when I read your post just days ago.

    And after we acknowledged the pain, the sadness, the exhaustion, we could tackle the fear; together we worked on her math. Guess what? She discovered she can do it and we ended the night with a victory dance in the kitchen, and she didn’t make fun of my dance moves so I know she was in a great mood. 🙂

    If you ever need inspiration to keep writing, I hope you find it in this acknowledgement I’m sending your way. I am a new fan of your blog, and I will dig through the archives, catching up on what you have been saying.

    Virtual hugs,
    Krista

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    • oh my goodness, Krista, you have certainly given me inspiration to keep writing and I know I will come back to your comments again and again. What lovely words you have gifted me that fill my heart, my new virtual friend! I am blown away that we, two mothers who have never met but who are grappling with similar issues, have been able to so meaningfully connect and impact each others lives. I LOVED everything you said, and could picture the whole scene as it played out. Thank you so much for describing it all to me. I love that you and your daughter were able to find that moment of pure acceptance which is so important and sacred for a kid with ‘unique learning perspectives’ (love that btw). I especially love that it all ended with a victory dance in the kitchen. I also believe in the value of kitchen dancing! I wish our daughters could meet! Look forward to connecting with you more, lovely Krista!

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  2. Bobbie Pelzmann says:

    Hi Karen:
    I’ve recently discovered how to get into your writings, I really appreciate your perspective! I’ve quoted you several times regarding your thoughts about letting go and aging parents and being an adult child, … turning grief into a gift. It’s my honour to consider you a friend. Thank you Karen!
    Sincerely Bobbie P.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Loved your thoughts on dyslexia. As you know, my 14 year old bubbly boy has the spelling of a 5 year old and can misread even simple text. We have recently found the phrase “eye readers, ear readers, and finger readers” to delineate those who can best read with their eyes (most people), those who read best with their ears (dyslexics), and those who must read with their fingers (Braille readers). Just as we would not make a blind person try to eye read by encouraging them to “try harder” or chastising them for “not practicing enough” so must we behave to the ear readers. As parents and educators we can encourage our children to be their beautiful dyslexic ear reading selves in a world of eye readers who have no better idea about ear reading than they do about finger reading.

    You are a caring and loving mother and our lovely dyslexic children need the love and acceptance of their families and their community. Thanks for your compassion.

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    • Thanks for your great comments! I am very intrigued by the idea of ear reading and want to know more! It makes so much sense – yes, we do ‘need to encourage our children to be their beautiful dyslexic ear reading selves in a world of eye readers!’.

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  4. A friend gave me that book and it’s my basket to read. But, right now, as I struggle to get my son’s 504 in place, I need humor. So I’m reading “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.” Delightful. And so wonderful to hear of your healing/letting go. Stories like that give me hope to keep plugging away at the larger, longer-term life challenges.

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