You haven’t Failed

It’s almost time for Parent-Teacher conferences.

If you’re like me, when the teacher speaks about those areas that need improvement, it can feel as if you’re the one being assessed.

I remember meeting with my oldest child’s kindergarten teacher several years ago. When she handed me the progress report, I immediately noticed one thing.

Well, one letter – N. For Needs improvement.

There it was beside Ties shoelaces independently.

“I’m the one who needs improvement,” I thought. “I haven’t taught her how to tie her shoes! I’ve failed her.”

It seems trivial now, but haven’t we all done this? Haven’t we seen the N or the F – or even the diagnosis – and felt like we failed them?

I was texting with a friend whose son was recently diagnosed with a learning disability and, like me, she blamed herself for not seeing the signs sooner.

“I’ve failed him,” she wrote.

There were those words again.

The same words I felt the day I was sitting in a small office waiting for a doctor to come in – and in my mind – define my son’s future.

The doctor sat down, smiled briefly, and began explaining about 25 pages of data while I sat there staring at her. She talked about his deficits in speech, fine motors, and social skills.

Fail. Fail. Fail.

And even though she praised us for starting early intervention and encouraged continued therapy, I was so scared and worried that I couldn’t be the mother he needed me to be.

“What if keep I failing him?” I thought.

It’s easy to get lost and allow a diagnosis — or even a bad grade — to doubt our ability as parents.

But just like my daughter’s progress report, that day in the doctor’s office did not declare me as a pitiful parent. And it most certainly did not define my son’s future.

It changed our lives in many ways, but it didn’t change who he is or take away his potential for a beautiful, meaningful life.

It will soon be time for another Parent-Teacher conference for my kids. And while there will be areas that need improvement, I’m going to try and focus on all the real progress they have made.

My daughter is learning to play a musical instrument for the first time and my son loves his teachers and playing chase on the playground.

They are happy and learning more each day. And that’s how I know I’m not failing them.

When we’re sitting in those conferences – or in the doctor’s office – let’s celebrate their triumphs and how our children are overcoming challenges that were once incredibly scary or difficult for them.

And you know what?

So are we.

Written by, Amanda Ledbetter

Amanda Ledbetter lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina with her husband, Jay, and two children, Ellie and James. James was diagnosed with autism at age two and thriving with the help and support of his wonderful therapists and teachers.

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

5 likes
Prev post: I Never Knew Being a Mother Would be so Hard for MeNext post: I can’t do it anymore…

Related posts

About Me
About Me

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

READ MORE

Join Coop’s Troop
Join Coop’s Troop

Become a Supporter of Finding Cooper's Voice and join our online community, Coop's Troop. Membership includes Facebook Lives with our family, giveaways and more.
JOIN NOW

FindingCoopersVoice
Most Popular
Sign up for Finding Cooper's Voice
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!