the meeting that changed everything

Yesterday we had a “staffing meeting” at my son’s school. What that means is, we met to go over test scores and “psychological evaluations” and teacher “observations” and checklists and oh mah God mommy’s head hurts… all to determine what exactly to “do” with a “gifted” child.

P.S. I think I just won an award for how many times you can use “air quotes” in a post. And I’m just getting started.

Devin’s teacher informed us that in her “twenty plus years of teaching” she had never seen a child “as smart as Devin.”

I bit my lip in an effort to avoid breaking my face with an ear splitting grin. Must. not. look. like. pushy. pompous. mom.

The “gifted teacher” (as in teacher of the gifted) came into the meeting and listened as the meeting coordinator began rattling off Devin’s test scores from the first half of the year – standardized tests and numbers that meant nothing to me, but that apparently were of great significance to everyone else in the room. I watched as the “gifted teacher” smiled and couldn’t help but notice her gasp at a few of the numbers. The gifted teacher was impressed.

My teeth began to ache as I clenched my jaw harder. Do. not. beam.

After about 30 minutes of discussing and listening, we were given a list of goals and objectives to choose from in order to determine our son’s educational plan for the next 5 months. Part of that plan will include him leaving his second grade classroom and joining a class specifically for “gifted” children. He’ll be one of 14 kids from three different grade levels.

His current second grade teacher cried as she signed the paperwork, explaining that while she was happy for him, she was sad to see him go.

As we left the meeting I was absolutely bursting with a strange mix of pride, sadness and… something else.

I’m sad for him, because I know he is worried about leaving behind the friends he’s made since starting over here five months ago. I’m sad for him because it was clear today that he has been blessed with a teacher who really cared about him, a woman who has gone above and beyond what was required of her as a teacher. And now he has to leave all that behind.

And yet, I’m so thrilled for him. I’m “proud” of him.

Although I’m not sure if that’s the right word.

It’s a strange thing to see your child through someone else’s eyes. It’s even stranger to see them with gifts and abilities that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your parenting. He’s not joining this class because of anything I’ve done, other than possibly passing on some genetic material. And possibly moving him to another school district in another state where these kind of opportunities are available.

And oddly enough, he hasn’t really done anything to warrant the overwhelming swelling in my rib cage and cheekbones. He was just born “this way”, really.

But still. The pride, it consumes me. The awe washes over me in waves.

And when I think about all the times as parents we have to apologize… all the times we cringe at the things that come out of our children’s mouths.. all the times we wonder where we must have gone wrong because surely this is not how we ever imagined how children would behave…

I think I’ll allow us both this moment.

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