It’s invitation season. Graduations, commencements, and parties.
It’s award season. Scholarships, college acceptance, promotions. Sports teams and students of the year.
It’s senior picture and prom season.
All of these events are exciting and worthy of celebration. The awards are hard-won and much deserved. I applaud the recipients and appreciate their moments to shine.
It’s just that, as a mom I see there are other awards missing. Really important ones.
The Missing Awards.
There should be an award for the kids who are brave enough to get up and go to school the next day, when the day before they were bullied, or spent the day in the principal’s office, or got an F on a test.
There should be an award for the kids who graduate from high school while juggling school work, caring for siblings, and working a fast food job to help support a family struggling to make ends meet.
There should be an award for the kids who go to therapy to talk about their problems. Lots of adults are too chicken to go.
There should be an award for the kids who have moved 10 times during their academic career due to a parent’s job, and each time started over in a new school.
There should be an award for the kids who have coped with surgeries, allergies, medications, conditions, tests, procedures, doctors’ appointments, measured diets, hospitals, braced limbs, and side effects as part of their normal.
There should be an award for the kids who have survived hunger, sleepless nights, screaming, beatings, sexual advances, bruises, dad hitting mom, and fear, and fear, and fear.
There should be an award for the kids who try so incredibly, fantastically hard to get right with 1,000 tries what other kids master with ease — zippers, math facts, the alphabet, behavior in the lunch room, geometry, how to make eye contact, ways to keep a friend.
There should be an award for the kids who scroll through Facebook on prom night looking at pictures, pretending they don’t care that they aren’t attending.
There should be an award for the kids who attend prom looking gorgeous, while secretly feeling insecure and ugly.
There should be an award for the teachers who teach the kids who don’t get the awards, who see beyond grades, numbers, and tests, who hold kids accountable that need it so desperately, and who give beyond what they knew was possible.
There should be an award for the parents who love the kids that don’t get the awards, parents who open the invitations, and sit through the award ceremonies of other kids, as on the inside their hearts cry, “My child, too! If only you could really see my child too,” while on the outside they nod, clap, and join with voices to politely say, “Congratulations! Very well done.”
If you enjoyed this post, please also check out these links: For the Mom at the Slide: When Parenting is Frightening Hard, “Mom, Do I Have Special Needs?”, This Morning Was Ugly: Parenting Children with Emotional Issues, How to Help a Mom When Her Child is Raging in Public, One Momentous Lesson for Whatever Battle You are Fighting and our Resources for Special Needs Parents page.
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