Our children are so much like us, we look at their faces and see bits of ourselves reflected back. They often act like us, the way that Camille holds a crayon reminds me of the way I hold a pen. And herein lies the great difficulty of parenting. They are not us but it is so hard to draw that line of where us ends and you begins. The intensity of my relationship to my children is a bond that makes it clear to me that the idea of separate bodies can be difficult to grasp. The notion of the individual is too often lost when I lay on the bed holding Piper's chubby little body. And there is great pain in this intensity, in this bonding, in this becoming one because the child does struggle against you as they seek to assert their I into your world. And there is pain because what happens to your child's body has an immediacy that is hard to put into words.
Umberto still can't read. He's having a lot of problems on the most basic level. My mom is freaking out, and her freak has sent tiny shots of panic through me. Does he have a learning disability? Is he just not smart? Is this my fault for the bad way I took care of my body while pregnant? Did I harm him by pulling him out of school? All of this stuff slams into me as I try to sort out what to do next. My mom is pushing for public school even though I know she must be aware that all too often kids with learning disabilities are not often serviced well by the public schools. She's pushing and pushing because she thinks that if he doesn't get identified by nine then it's all over. And of course the chances of him getting identified by nine are small. This process usually takes a year. Of course I feel like she thinks it is my fault for homeschooling.
The pain of letting down Umberto is doubled with my own pain. My own struggles in school haunt me...not being able to read until I was nearly eight, never being able to do Math, and taking Algebra I three times, my total lack of aptitude with foreign languages (there's a reason why I don't speak Spanish people), and my total horrible spelling and verbal skills issues. I remember clearly, likely because I feel like this often even now, feeling like a total failure. I always felt so dumb in comparison to those around me. My successes were so lopsided, and there was always that nagging feeling that being good in one area really did not make someone smart. My mother excelled at both reading and math and pointed that out all too often while I struggled through high school. I always have this sneaking suspicion that in reality I'm quite dumb but that no one wants to tell me.
And now all this blends with my concern for Umberto. I don't want my precious boy to feel this way. I want him to be confident. But I worry that putting in school will do just the opposite. On the other hand I worry that being homeschooled will ruin any chances he has for learning...that I can not give him the help he needs. As I try to make a decision I have to sort through what's my own fears from the past mixing with concern for Umberto's future.
This separating of the us from the I is difficult.