When my daughter was in Kindergarten, she often cried in the mornings, and I didn’t understand why she dreaded going to school. From my perspective, Kindergarten was fun, creative, and colorful. What could possibly induce tears?
Because I didn’t understand what my daughter was feeling, I often got frustrated with her. Her overwhelming emotions added stress to an already-busy morning routine. I had to walk her into the building, when her friends were walking into school independently. She clung to me well after the typical new-school-year transition time.
When the notes from her teacher started to come home with extra work to catch her up, I knew deep down that this was not the solution. I knew that she was exhausted after a full day of learning, and there was no way I could add more work to her load. My mother’s intuition kicked in, and my patience started growing. I did what I could to protect her spirit. I didn’t know much about Dyslexia or what she was really feeling, but I did know that I needed to help her in any way that I could.
As I learn more about Dyslexia—what it is and is not—I also am recognizing my daughter’s unique brand of Dyslexia, as it can look different in each person. I see how incredibly hard working and diligent she is. Watching my daughter in tutoring sessions, I have seen so much progress. I see her brilliance shine through, when she gets to work at her pace. I also see how much she fights to be “normal,” not really wanting her classmates to know and feeling like she is the only one, even though she is among the 20 percent. And I see how even when I think things are going well, she has her threshold and can only take so much before she starts to feel tired, frustrated, or sad.
Now when she cries in the mornings, I know what I can do to comfort her. I rub her aching belly, we use essential oils to calm her emotions, and I hug her and remind her of the blessings of the day.
My daughter’s Dyslexia, and my journey with her, has helped me grow in empathy. Not only for her but for my other children, too. They have their own struggles; we all do. And because of Dyslexia, my heart has softened and grown more compassionate. And for that I am grateful.