Friday, January 9, 2009

Normal for us

My son Addison is exceptionally gifted.

Though I never talk about Addison with the intention of bragging about him or comparing what he can do with what other children his age can do, sometimes its hard to hide my own excitement and amazement at his abilities. And why should I hide it? I am a proud mother, and I want to be able to openly share stories about who my child is with people around me.

Unfortunately, it is a subject that has proved to be a difficult topic to discuss openly, particularly with other parents who have children who are of a similar age. I tread carefully when people begin to inquire. "Is he a little bit advanced for his age?" they ask after observing him telling time on an analog clock, for example. I nod, and casually say, "Yeah, he's a pretty bright kid," or "he really, really loves numbers." At this point, I do my best to read the person I'm speaking with to see if they have already become threatened or not. I may get a choked, "Wow, that's great." as I watch their face change to a somber expression and they shuffle and look away... I immediately drop the subject.

An exchange like this can make me feel uncomfortable for the next hour or so. Did I say too much? Did I come across like I was bragging? No! I didn't!!! Then why do I feel so weird?

I don't like it, and I don't want to feel this way anymore. I have the right to take joy in talking factually about my child's abilities and strengths just as anyone else does.

I've been afraid to write about it here, fearing the silent discomfort that might be present out there. But I can't afford to be afraid of that anymore, not only for my own good, but for Addison! Our family is different, and blessed in our own unique ways, and I'm so proud of who we are!


Cheryle said...

We are all proud of who you are! Addison's gifts are just that - gifts - and although I know what you mean about not appearing to brag, I think it can make him feel uneasy if we don't find a way to be more comfortable with them when people comment. I think you handle it well, but I do understand how you feel. It would be great if some of your readers had ideas!

Michelle said...

Such a huge milestone to achieve before he is school aged... so often the gifted are misunderstood in school settings and all of that beautiful curiosity and competence is ill-perceived. Your pride and advocacy will help paint sweet little Addison in the appropriate light both now and for years to come.

Kathleen said...

So much of parenting seems to be the quest for normal. Isn't that why so many parents claim that their babies sleep through the night, that older siblings love their younger siblings without end, that everything is neat and tidy in their homes and lives?

Life isn't neat and tidy, and neither is parenting. Sometimes it's messy in awful ways, and sometimes it's messy in beautiful ways, and both can be hard. And both are okay to embrace.

So go for it!

christine said...

I came by your blog by way of Suziebeezieland.

I can totally relate to the gifted son, but it is so very hard to talk about with others. I was so happy when we found a group. Unfortunately we moved and have yet to find another group like that one.