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By Jamie Krug
I had lunch with a friend yesterday. We talked about our careers and what we’re currently working on, our husbands, upcoming birthday parties and vacations, and our busy schedules – all pretty typical lunchtime topics for two women that are both mothers and writers.
I asked about her children. She asked about my six-year-old daughter, and about my almost-five-year-old son and how he was doing. I told her about his huge gains at home and in his Special Needs preschool this year, and about some of my serious concerns regarding his transition to the district’s typical Kindergarten next year.
“Do you think he will learn his letters and numbers? Do you think he will eventually learn to read or do you not even allow yourself to think about that at this point?” she asked with genuine care and concern.
I paused for a moment as I waited for the inevitable crush of emotions to hit me. I waited for the fear, and the nerves, and the sadness, and the knot in the pit of my stomach to all materialize instantaneously as they usually do.
But they didn’t.
Those are not the emotions I felt yesterday when she asked me those questions. And it honestly took me by surprise.
“Well,” I heard myself responding to her excitedly, “He can count his numbers up to thirteen now – and then he usually goes right to sixteen, skips around a bit and ends up at twenty-three – every time." I chuckled. "And he can recognize the letters of his name – and write them, too!” I told her proudly.
I took a beat as I thought about the prospect of him reading. It was something I hadn’t considered, likely that I hadn’t allowed myself the luxury of considering, even as my daughter has recently been discovering the wonder between the covers of a book, a passion I share too.
Not all that long ago, allowing myself to hope he would walk felt like a risk – like I was just begging the world to break my heart. The same goes for talking – when he had only twelve words just before his third birthday, and his neurologist had to deliver the devastating news to us that she wasn’t sure he would ever speak beyond the vocabulary of a five-year-old due to a rare brain malformation.
I didn’t know if he would ever go to school.
I didn’t know if he would live with us for the rest of his life – or ours.
I didn’t know if he would one day be his sister’s responsibility – or her burden.
There are still so many things I don’t know about my son.
I looked across the table at my friend and told her the truth – that this was something else that I just didn’t know. But this time it was different.
“I don’t know if he will be able to read one day, but I think he will. I think he will be significantly delayed – maybe it won't be until he’s ten or later – but I really think it will happen.” I told her.
And it was true. It is true.
I am allowing myself to believe it, that he will read one day.
And when he can, I hope he reads this.
I hope he will be able to grasp how truly far he has come, what he has overcome.
And if he can’t read this himself, I will read it to him.
And he will know.
You can follow Jamie on her blog JamieKrugAuthor.com, or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.