a large collective sigh…..

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.
Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.”

Shel Silverstein

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(my giddy, degree holding, son)

Did you hear that?

That sound of exhaling?

That whooshing sound Saturday morning…
the sound of a large collective, slow released, heavy sigh?

The sound of years and years of the breath held by two parents, their son…
and now a young wife…
along with a myriad number of friends and family…

A sigh that has actually been held for….
A lifetime.

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See this young boy?
This picture was taken on a balmy Friday night in May of 2007.
It’s the image of young man who had just graduated high school…
standing on the edge of a well anticipated future…

Yet what he, in his delirium of conquering the one mountain failed to realize that carefree night,
was that he was not yet finished climbing…
For looming in the distance, just beyond the horizon of his youthful exuberance,
lay a mountain range far more challenging than what he had just conquered….

That exciting evening, so long ago, indeed marked a successful passing….
The passing of a 12 year long struggle…

Yet the magnitude of the struggle to which I speak is most likely lost on those who have never
experienced or lived through a child who has had to struggle academically.

And whereas I have written about this struggle before…
That of his particular struggle and of our particular struggle as a family…
The massive weight and enormity of it all came rushing back to the forefront of my heart and soul
this past Saturday morning while sitting in a crowded gym of a southern university.

From that fateful day his first grade teacher called me, a fellow educator, telling me she had a concern…a concern that something just wasn’t right…
to finally sitting in a college gym waiting for a commencement ceremony to begin…
our road has been painfully long and arduous.

From the hard diagnosis of a crippling learning disability…(most likely inherited…)
later compounded by a diagnosis of ADD…
It was double indemnity that was sadly to be our unfortunate lot.

There were many hurdles, impossible hurdles…
And there was testing..lots and lots of testing.

There were the years of refusal to take the medications that were promised to help make things easier…
to finally relenting…
Then only to live with the ill effects of those medications on ones body…
Eventually going back to life without medical help.

There were disappointments…
and failures,
and lapses,
and anger,
and frustration…

There were tears…
lots and lots of tears…
from both child and parents.

There were tutors, reading camps, repeated courses, more tutors…
There was working, studying, studying longer and harder then others
There was the staying after, long after others were gone…
There were sacrifices…

And…
There were a few rare triumphs…
The acceptance letters…
Along with the…
changing of schools…
The changing of majors…
The sitting out…
The waiting…
The continued waiting…
The nos,
The not yets,
The not nows…
The too bads…

Yet there were hopes and dreams.
Always hopes and dreams…
Hopes and dreams that would never fade or go away…

And there was a determination to realize those very hopes and dreams…
just like anyone else who has hopes and dreams…
anyone else who was “normal”….
because wasn’t that what so much of this was all about…
just wanting to be normal like everyone else…

Knowing that you were not stupid…that you were not slow or dumb…
as they would whisper behind your back…
Knowing all the while that you were smart and that you could learn…
that you could excel…
that you could be like everyone else…by God!!!
And by God it would be….

You wanted to prove that you were normal…
Normal like those who didn’t have to struggle, didn’t have to work so very hard…
You wanted to be like those who made the good grades, who didn’t have to expend the energies…
You wanted to be like those who just made school seem… easy…

However today is not that day…
It is not to be that day for the retelling of the very long and hard fought journey of ours…
It is not the day for rehashing and re-living the difficulties nor for the recounting of all the struggles…
And it is not a day to expound upon our seemingly misfortunate poor dumb luck…

No…

Today is not that day…

Rather…

Today is THE day to rejoice…
It is a day to soak it all in.
It is a day to exhale.
It is a day to smile.
It is a day for tears.
It is a day of HOPE.
It is a day of DREAMS.
And it is a day of Thanksgiving and Gratitude….

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The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.

Psalm 6:9

27 comments on “a large collective sigh…..

  1. atimetoshare.me says:

    Words cannot express the feelings of joy t this wonderful victory. God is in it all Ned has a plan for our good always at the forefront. Congrats to your son and you as well for not giving up.

  2. Wally Fry says:

    That’s just awesome Julie

  3. Lynda says:

    I am so thrilled that my hunch was correct! What an amazing day in the life of your family! You have been through so much over the years and a great deal recently with extended family that this triumph is even more important. You have all learned the lesson of perseverance. Congratulations and blessings to all of you.

  4. God is good – all the time…and all the time – God is good!!! I am thrilled beyond words. If ever anyone deserved this day, it’s him! Prayers answered.

  5. Lynda says:

    I’m so happy that my hunch was correct! What a great moment to celebrate as a family – lots of hard work and perseverance for sure. Congratulations and blessings to all of you! Beautiful family photo as well.

  6. ColorStorm says:

    Awesome jewels.

    Hope you will print this out and give to your son as a reminder of the pride you have in family.

    Great photos btw!

  7. Blessings are awesome, so happy for you and yours Julie! 🙂

  8. Melissa Presser (formerly Esquire) says:

    Congrats Congrats Congrats!!!

  9. Jenna Dee says:

    Your post brought tears of joy to my eyes Julie. Your unconditional love and support of your son is inspirational. Congratulations to him and best wishes for his future from here on. Love Jenna ❤

    • Thank you so much Jenna—it’s been a long journey to be sure—and you know that as a mother, the load is never easy, nor ever finished—but I will pause long enough to savor this one milestone!!!
      hugs and love—

  10. Wonderful! A great day indeed!

    • Thank you Nicodemas—I wanted to tell you that I left a comment on your post about moving on—your wanting to shift gears a bit but I didn’t see that it posted. I’ve had quite a time with my comments posting on the blogs that I read and follow–many have gone MIA or emptied into spam—as I suspect happened with the comment I made for you—so check your spam to see if I’m sitting in the trash—but do know that I did comment, wishing you all the best and thanking you for your continued support…

  11. I’m thrilled for all of you!!! I hope you’ve had a marvelous time celebrating this accomplishment. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  12. JoAnna says:

    This sounds so familiar. Both my kids have ADD, and I suspect my son has a touch of autism though it’s never been diagnosed (his son has been diagnosed). My son got his high school diploma in night school which turned out to be the best thing that he could have done and got a two year degree in business and now works as a restaurant manager. My daughter, who also suffers from anxiety and depression, made it through traditional high school (large sigh or relief) and is still trying to find herself place in the world.Your post is a great reminder that anything really is possible with God’s help. Congratulations to you and your family!

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