Sometimes I can close my eyes and envision my two sons running free down a beautiful and majestic mountain pathway. I can almost smell the cool crisp air and hear their carefree laughter as they experience a place of total tranquility. There are no demands at this place…no progress reports, no test evaluations, no IEP meetings, no forms to fill out, no achievement tests to determine readiness or worthiness….no repeated labels of ‘learning delayed,’ ‘moderate deficit,’ or ‘well below average.’ Autism, PDD-NOS, and ADHD have no power to confine in this scene.
There are filing cabinets full to the brim of such reports and summaries at the Nelson home. There is a cabinet for Nathan, and one for Caleb as well. I used to keep the ever increasing documents that filled these spaces in chronological order. I would neatly organize the folders according to areas of ‘need.’ One folder for speech deficits, another for reading comprehension concerns, a different one for fine and gross motor goals, and so on, and so on. Then there were the folders for the countless hours of medical testing and screenings done in the name of yet again giving my sons a ‘label.’ I used to even color coat the file drawers in an attempt to gain some semblance of order, but I soon ran out of colors.
I used to pull out some of those reports every now and again through the years, just to get a glimpse of where we have been, and possibly how far we have come. And yet, those reports never give such an insight. They always say the same thing, year after year, time after time, and there is one word that plays itself in repeated fashion over and over ad nauseam… DEFICIT.
Today I had both of my boys tested per homeschool annual requirements. This would be an equivalent to an End of Grade type of testing in the public schools. I suppose it was pretty silly and presumptuous of me to believe their scores would somehow have sky rocketed in only three months of a homeschool setting, but a mom should never stop hoping or believing. As I sat going over their scores afterward with the proctor, the usual terms and summaries came to the surface again. Both tested below expectation for what a child of their age should be capable of, while some areas were greatly below average. I am ashamed to admit that such reports still bring the sting of bitter tears to my eyes. I am not sure why.
As we drove home from testing today, I looked in my rear view mirror at my two beautiful sons. They were smiling and laughing at each other while discussing critical details of The Lego Movie, which they have now seen four times. When I asked them how they thought they did with the testing, Nathan blurted out..”We did GREAT mom!” And his smile was so radiant that I knew he truly believed it. It was then that the Lord God put a fresh and new perspective in my heart and mind. It was ok to lay the labels aside, and embrace a new vision and word for my boys. What the world calls a deficit, God calls dynamic. What the world calls lacking and below standard, the Lord God calls ‘more than enough!’ He sees through different eyes, and He gave me a glimpse of His vision, and it was utterly breathtaking.
Yep, I can see Nathan and Caleb running free and totally unencumbered down newly blazed trails in this life. They will not fit the norm, but who really cares. May they never sit still and stagnant long enough for any labels to stick to them.
When we got home I put those results somewhere in the ole’ file folder, in no particular order or placement of color. They are just words on a paper. God’s purpose and plans for my boys cannot fit in any such folder.
Thank God that He makes us all to be unique and special, and that His label for us is LOVE.