. . . for Lauren and Lauren: Currently Learning

July 28, 2013

Currently Learning

I recently shared about some lessons I've learned while being pregnant, but now it's on to the real lessons of parenthood.  

Currently I'm learning that I can't stare at my daughter enough. 

That I was never prepared for how many diapers we would go through and how thankful I am that Chris changes as many as he does. 

That at least every hour I look at her and think about how beautiful she is and how lucky we are that she belongs to us.

That there is no way to resist uploading picture after picture of our sweet baby to instagram and facebook.

That the minute your baby is in your arms you want to protect them from everything and all your plans of being a parent that didn't worry about germs went out the window.

Or that breastfeeding a million times a day is both wonderful and exhausting.  

Today I have a friend that is sharing her story of parenthood and learning how to trust that God has a plan for your children and how to deal with some of the challenges of watching your children struggle, learn and grow.  

Thanks Tif for sharing your story and for a little giveaway at the end! 


My son was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD when he was in 5th grade. He struggled so hard throughout the years with bullies, being punched, kicked, thrown down the stairs…hard classes, being mainstreamed into a class where NO ONE knew how to handle a child with his disability…the list goes on.

Day in and day out…week after week…I was in the office BEGGING the principal to do something about the bullying…which he never did. I was forever in meetings with Teachers trying desperately to get them to listen to how to “deal” with my son in class…this was to no avail…they never listened. Over the years I was given a nickname in the office…I was unaware of this until one day…when my son had been beaten up again…I called the school to speak to the Principal. Unbeknownst to the receptionist…the phone didn’t put me on hold…and I heard “The Dragon Lady is on line 1 AGAIN”…so when the Principal got on the phone I said…”HI…this is the Dragon Lady, my son was beat up yet again today” I went on to tell him that one day…if someone didn’t do something…my son was going to snap! And…he did! He FINALLY defended himself and we ended up in court for fighting in school. Luckily the Judge listened to our side, saw the papers on how many times I complained and went easy on him.  By easy I mean a $500 fine, 6 months of probabtion, 8 hours of community service, 8 hours of anger management...and all because he'd had enough of being beaten up and finally defended himself. That was not the end of that though.

A few weeks later I was sitting in the school waiting for an ARD meeting to begin, when THAT PRINCIPAL walked in. Now mind you…I try to stay calm when confronted with certain situations…but…BUT…this guy had pushed me to far! This is how the conversation went:

Him: “Mrs. Kennedy” 
ME: “I do not want you in here!”
HIM: “I have to be her…a principal has to be in attendance” 
ME: “SO…find someone else!” 
HIM: “Mrs. Kennedy, you are taking this to far!” 
ME: “Ummm…have you EVER heard of a school called Columbine?” 
ME: “Really…let me tell you something. My son has a support system at home…thank God…but how many other kids are bullied and don’t…and you do NOTHING…when it happens here…I will hold YOU personally responsible!” 

He left the room in a huff…guess I earned that title…but MY KID is worth it.

SO…after years of struggle we decided to hold my son back in the 8th grade and let the bullies move on to High School and get interested in cars and girls. And that…WORKED! The bullying stopped…my son found himself and was SO excited to start High School the following year. THEN…the bottom fell out again.

9th Grade ARD meeting…all his Teachers, Principals, Counselors and even a member of the board of the ISD was there…oh and so was my son. The meeting started out okay…when the lady from the board said “Mrs. Kennedy, I see here your son has had a lot of issues with his former school…honestly…I believe we are wasting our time here. He will probably quit school before the end of this year.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…I even LITERALLY SHOOK MY HEAD because I thought I heard wrong…when it set in I wasn’t mistaken in what I heard…it too EVERYTHING in me NOT to dive over the table and snatch her ball-headed! (sorry...that is Southern slang for tear her hair out!)

Instead I looked at my son…who was almost in tears. I said, “JC…” (interrupted by someone…I told them to shut up and listen very carefully to what I am telling my son) “JC…I love you no matter what! Do you hear me? I don't know about you...but I am so tired of fighting over schoolwork…and projects…and teachers…and everything else…are you?” “Yes…Momma, I am.” “Well you know what…from now on…the pressure is O F F ! You do the best you can do…if the best you can do is an F…then so be it…BUT I know that is not your best!” He put his head down and I said “JC…I want you to look into every single face in this room…one at a time…remember who they are…remember what they’ve said about you!” He looked very carefully at each and every one of them…”NOW…JC…PROVE THEM ALL WRONG!” And you know what…HE DID!  

He was on the honor roll so many times I lost count...He graduated with 28.5 credits (only needed 26 credits...could have graduated early...but didn't want to), and he lettered in the Air Force JROTC and graduated a Major.

So much has happened since 2008.  Diagnosis's change...we didn't know but the ADHD/OCD was but only a symptom of his now diagnosed disability.  He is schizo-affective (and no...there are no multiple personalities, and he doesn't hear voices...not all are like that.)  But take another look at that photo...would you know it from looking at him?  I call it his "invisible disability" because to look at him, you'd never know what is going on inside.

It's so very hard to watch your child suffer, longging to be "normal", longging for love, longging for a family of his own.  There isn't a day that goes by that at one time or another you may find me in tears for him...and for me as well.  I have had to learn to "mourn" the life I'd always wanted for my son.  A life that is not possible.  The reality of that, literally breaks my heart so bad my soul hurts for him.  He is an amazing young man!  He doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs...he's loyal, faithful and very loving, heck...he didn't even go to the principals office one time in High School.  It breaks my heart that he can't even have a career to look forward to.  Why? Because he has to live on disability because the $10,000/mo. medication bill is too much for anyone to pay.

God's got a plan for him, I don't know what it is...wish I did...but I know whatever it is...we will make the most of it!  Mom's & Dad's take your child, hold them tight...tell them you love them NO MATTER WHAT!  It's not the grades, the talent, the hopes/dreams you want from your child...teach them to love with all their heart, try with all their might and believe in themselves...because in the end...what they think of themselves is ALL that matters!

Thank you so much for sharing your story Tif!  Get to know more about Tif by checking out her blog Ramblings of a Southern Belle and enter below for a chance to win a bottle of Viva La Juicy Couture Perfume.

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Simply LKJ said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Powerful. As a mother, I applaud you Tif. You NEVER once gave up on your child and continued to fight for his rights. I am a mother of a child who suffered from severe migraines throughout highschool (no, not as disabling, but a silent threat nonetheless). I was fortunate to have a team behind us. I could not imagine going throughout her school years without the support of her teachers and staff. Our oldest has recently taken on a teaching job (her 2nd, as she decided to major in something else in college but later returned to her passion). She had kids similar during her student teaching. Her exact words, "mom, so many have let these kids down". She has vowed to make a difference. And, I pray she will. Tif, thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately there are many more like yours out there. I pray more will be understanding of our youth and their struggles.

Jamie said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Oh, I just love all of your lessons that you are learning as a new mommy! I pray that each day only continues to get better and you cherish each and every moment with your sweet little girl!

still being [molly] said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

wow. what a powerful story! thank you for sharing, tif!

and katie, you are just becoming a more amazing mother and role model every single day!

Carly said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

As a teacher who works with the "intervention" class, I am appalled by the way he was treated. It's our job to support children and teach them to navigate the world despite disabilities....what happened to encouraging children and empowering them? Good for you, for fighting for him!

Katie, you're a champ....and keep uploading......I want to see more pics!


Ginny said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Yay for parenthood, so glad you're enjoying g very minute of it :)

Katie {Always, Katie} said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Tif, I needed a mother like you. Thank you for fighting for your son... from another kid with invisible disabilities, whose parents always believed she was lazy or oversensitive. <3

Denise said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Beyond precious.

Marina said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Inspiring story! Tif, thanks for sharing!

Kristin said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I'm so glad you're settling in well :)

Tif said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thank you all so much for your sweet words! I know we went thru this journey (and continue to) for a reason! God will see us thru everything! Katie...I'm sorry you didn't have the understanding you needed...I'm here for you if you need to talk...anytime...you can PM me at rambling.southern.belle@aol.com and I will give you my personal email address! XO's...

J and A said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

You are a natural Katie!! :) Beautiful photos.
GREAT story Tif! Wow.

Brianne Bracco said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Love the lessons so far...she is so beautiful...I can't get enough of your IG pictures either ;)

Pamela said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Bring on the cute pictures ;) Love Tif's story!!

preethi said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

So I was just thinking that I hadn't seen a post from you in a while so I checked your blog and saw there are a bunch I missed...somehow it must've disappeared from my feedly! Going to stalk all your posts now. :) Also, she is just the sweetest little thing!

The Cavallaro's said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Tif's story of struggle completely breaks my heart, especially being a teacher. I'm glad to hear that things have gotten better for her soon (who, she is right, you wouldn't notice anything by looking at his picture.) Can't wait to check out her blog.

And I love lookin' at all the pictures of your princess on Instagram :)

Nadya said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I'm glad Tiffany kept fighting and helping her son. I'm just curious why she didn't take him out of the school if no one was doing anything? Public school is a sad place. I am a substitute teacher and recommend homeschooling to everyone. Hope her son touches many people who may be in the same situation as him!

Leslie Germain said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

What a great story to share. you will see as a mom you will do a lot for your child (and yes not all parents are that way - a good support system is important). Bottom line - you are your child's most important teacher. The way they do in life is a reflection on the values you instilled. They are only with a teacher for one school year but have you from the day they are born. Can you tell I love my kids and being a mom?

And those pictures are beautiful. Your daughter is darling. I love the pic of you in the red tank top. Her profile is gorgeous. Love those cheeks and little lips. Enjoy your journey through motherhood. It goes by fast. My little girl is 10 1/2 and it feel like just yesterday I was holding her in the hospital!

Nicole @ Haute Runner said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Wow. That story brought me to tears. A mother's love is nothing to mess with.

Sheila Lynne said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I want to say thank you for sharing this endearing story of strength and encouragement. As a grown woman with ADHD, I struggled through High School, and at 31 am finally working on a college degree. In addition to that part of my story, I also have a 3 year old little boy who is Autistic. And He is a challenge, But everyday is a miracle, and I consider it a blessing that he has this wonderful chance to prove all these nay-sayers wrong. Thank you again, and thank you for your unknowing encouragement and support. Thank You for being a fighter for your child.