Parenting a gifted child isn’t easy. Here are my resolutions – and my promises – for treasuring the ones I’ve got.
Twelve years ago, they handed me a baby. She was small and pink.
I was exhausted and green.
I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea who I was holding, either: an intensely gifted, sensitive person, ability matched by challenge.
They were both little and pink, like their sister.
I was less green, a mercy that came at a price.
You see, raising one gifted child is baptism by fire. Raising three of them? Baptism by volcanic eruption.
There were incessant questions about topics I hadn’t studied in years. Sleepless nights injected with existential and philosophical crises. Irrational fears and sensory aversions that kept us inside or at home. Public meltdowns resulting in awkward questions. Academic frustrations that led to social quagmires.
Hindsight makes me queasy.
I see mistakes.
Eleven years ago; seven years ago; three years ago, they handed me a baby, a gifted child who would set my world on fire.
Eleven years later, I’m handing them my promise.
Resolutions for my gifted child
I will love you for who you are
I admit I have wanted you to be normal. There is no normal – there is only you.
You, my children, are perfection.
I will not give up on you
Advocacy breeds exhaustion. It leaves me empty and breathless, wrapped in a selfishness of which I am not proud.
How many times must I request accommodations? How many times must I explain your needs?
Seven times 70, at least.
As long as you need me to.
I will not let you give up on yourself
You. Are. Wondrous.
Your thoughts make connections that terrify you. Your imagination combats a reality that stymies you. Your skills foment a perfection that devastates you.
You – each one of you – has a gift. I will not let the trappings destroy you.
I will listen to you
Yes, I am tired of Minecraft. I have heard enough scientific facts to write my own encyclopedia. I have listened to you sing the same song fifteen times, because the first fourteen weren’t perfect. We have taken half an hour to walk fifty feet because you must read every license plate.
Keep doing it.
Tell me everything you know. Tell me everything you fear. Tell me everything you love.
My ears and my heart are open.
I will let you make your own way
You came from me, but you are not me. Each of you is distinct, with a host of talents and interests I can’t begin to understand.
It’s okay that you don’t like to write. You are allowed to stop playing the violin. I will register you for soccer, and I won’t tell you I only picked daisies.
I will let you follow your path.
I will encourage you to try new things
Safety is a worthy pursuit. But so, my darlings is adventure.
The great minds of history are great because they challenged conventions. I will help you ask questions. I will help you break borders. When you are ready, I will help you step out of your comfort zone.
I will let you be yourself
Wear your wolf suit to the grocery store. Dress like Princess Leia for the day. Spend hours building your fantasy world, online and in real life.
You are a treasure.
I promise to treasure you.
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