Friday, March 9, 2018

Wrong Focus

Asher's state-required psyc eval and IQ test came in the mail a few days ago. Adam asked me if I wanted to hear what was in it. I said, 'Not today.' Because we know what's going to be in it. We know it's going to highlight how far away from typical he is. We know it will focus on all the quantifiable ways he is less than his normally developing peers. Less than. After all, that is what we specialize in in our quantifiable tests, exams, evaluations. Finding who is less than, who is weakest. Who needs extra. We know that people with qualified book learning watched our son and checked all the book-specified qualities and found him lacking. Sometimes finding the lacking, giving the extra can be really helpful. Sometimes those lacking reading or writing or math skills can make great improvements with a little or a lot extra. But sometimes the findings just glare at you, telling you that this is your child and there is no place for him because he will never be enough. He will never live up to the productivity level our society deems worthy.

I was thinking about this as I made Asher's lunch. I angrily shoved a bite into my mouth and popped the rest in the microwave, just as Asher came running around the corner, shouting, 'Mom! Mess! Big mess!' Which means one thing, Asher made a huge mess somewhere and is coming to humbly show me his work and apologize, though 9 times out of 10 lately he refuses to help clean it. I stormed down the hall after him, in a much worse mood because of my own thoughts, and prepared to really let him have it. I am so sick of cleaning up these massive avalanches he causes! And right when I opened my mouth to tell him how I feel about this mound of junk he's dumped all together, I choke on the bite of food in my mouth. And all I can do is cough and cough and cough, so hard I almost throw up because there is a piece lodged right at the opening of my windpipe.

Asher jumps into action. 'You okay, Mommy?!' he calls as he runs down the hall. I hear water turning on in the kitchen and seconds later he comes running back with a cup of water with a straw in it. He gently hands me the cup and starts patting my back as I gratefully drink it.

I look at this boy, with tears in my eyes, partially because I had just been coughing my lungs up but mostly because I just love him. Adam had shared with me the last line of the report, 'Asher is a the same level as a 3 or 4 year old.' They don't know. They don't know his amazing emotional intelligence, how can you quantify that? They don't know how many ways he enriches this house, all the times he causes every person to slow down and choose kindness. How can you make money off of that? They don't know the love that sparkles off of him, how he makes so many smile and cheer. There is no way to put that on a checklist.

I think the school I am in with Asher is one that teaches me how to say, 'Whatever!' to the world of checklists, productivity, bottom lines. There is so much more to people than the paycheck they earn, the grades they get, and the college they attend or don't. That kid! He drives me crazy some days. He makes huge messes. He brightens my day every morning with a hug, a kiss, and a 'Good MORNing, Mommy!' And he is so much, much more than a number on a paper.

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