As I mentioned earlier, we are keeping Knox home for one more year before starting kindergarten. It was one of those silly decisions that weighed deeply on my mind, like all of the other existential questions that fill my mind with worry, but in the end I know that we’re doing the very best for him by doing this. I wanted to take some time to focus one-on-one with him at home in the evening to sort of reemphasize the exercises they do at preschool. Even if it is schoolwork, he actually really seems to enjoy the time with just him and me. Most of the time I pull out a worksheet I printed off the internet or we do memory activities during the hour between when we get home and when dinner is ready. The fun part of being working parents is the sprint between walking through the door and plating dinner for everyone, but luckily we seem to have a pretty good routine down where Brian cooks and I corral the kids.
Our worksheet last night covered matching capital and lowercase letters. Knox has probably done these a million times. I explained the sheet to him and we read each letter outloud. He stumbled on some of the harder ones, like Q and got some confused like D and B. At first we pointed out each letter and he could tell me the correct answer almost immediately. But then a few minutes would go by and it was like he forgot what we were doing. I patiently reviewed the directions again, and reaffirmed him with a pat on the back and a gentle hug. As much as I wanted to will him to “get” the instructions, he didn’t seem to let them sink in. I’d ask him a question and I’d catch him not even looking at the page. I was growing frustrated with his lack of focus.
We continued through the sheet but then he got stuck on the letter “F.” I knew that he knew which letter was the lowercase version because we had just gone over it. But he stammered, pointing to a “G” or “x.” I snapped the paper up and drew the line between the pair of “F’s,” and as anger tightened my throat I pointed out loudly where to connect the BIG FAT F!
I should have pointed at myself. I totally failed him in that moment.
I sat the paper down and wrapped my arms around his little body and buried my face in his sun-kissed blonde hair. He looked confused and shocked.
I took a deep breath and told him I was sorry. I told him I was proud of him and that I loved him.
I love my kids, and I want them to do well in life. I, personally, sucked at school. I was the kid who worked really really hard to get that C average. I failed a few classes in college, one of those was archery.
As a parent I want my kids to thrive. I pray that they won’t struggle in the ways that I did. But in trying to prevent them from struggling with some things, I hope I don’t fail them in others.