I always imagined that my incredibly intelligent, infinitely talented son would take the well-marked path to graduation and beyond. And yet things did not happen that way at all.
Adjusting my expectations and accepting my children for who whey are is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. If there were physical indicators of emotional holes the way would be obvious. But because it's not, I keep pushing and shoving my kids into situations where success is elusive (not for lack of trying). Bryce reminded me regarding Tyce's schooling, "He was in a life or death situation and he still couldn't save himself." It wasn't a matter of choice or laziness. It was paralysis due to a myriad of issues still untapped. But how does one finally figure that out? And what can be done?
Our dear friend Ronnie told us about a school in Texas called Northstar Christian Academy where a student can graduate from high school in an alternate way. This turned out to be an answer to prayer. Tyce was able to take a 400-question test and if he made at least 70%, he would earn his high school diploma. We knew the content would not be an issue--but doing the work was. Despite being thrown a lifeline (or perhaps because of it), he still struggled to get it done. There was a time I thought that graduation might not happen this way either. Bu t he finally completed the test and did indeed get his diploma. That was a few weeks ago and it has been such a relief for him.
The only thing that kept his spirits up, literally, was choir. Not our family, church, his friends, or any other thing in the world but choir. That is where he put his heart and soul. That is where he felt love. That is where he felt his worth. If it were not for Mr. Duff and his amazing program I don't know where Tyce would have been. Even though he technically graduated, Tyce still attended high school so that he could have music in his life.
Last night was the culminating activity, the choir banquet. We came up to Mr. Duff to express our appreciation for everything and he said, "I thank God for Tyce every day." He thanks God for Tyce? After all the grief he has caused him? That got me right in the heart. Tears sprang to my eyes because of the Christ-like love and mentorship that this teacher has for one of his brilliant but difficult students. He takes him as he is, loves him for who he is, and gets the very best out of him. It sounded trite when we parroted back the sentiment of divine thanks. Really, what can you say to the person who has saved your son's life--if not physically, then surely emotionally?
|Mr. Duff and Tyce|
|Receiving his award for Choral Excellence|
|Everyone said he looked like a general. He also had two plaques, a framed certificate, and three participation certificates: pop choir, concert choir, and chamber singers.|
|With our high school graduate.|
That night I sent him a text.
I am so incredibly proud of you! It was awesome to see you get all those awards tonight. You deserve every one. I know you can do whatever you set your mind to . . this is just the beginning of great things for you. Happy Graduation Night. :)
He replied back:
thanks mom ur the best :)
And so ends this chapter in his life, and in mine too. I may never have another student at this school; who knows? Mary is sticking with homeschool and I don't have any idea what the twins will need when they are freshmen. I will do whatever will help them be their best selves. My kids are different and that's okay--they are exactly who they are supposed to be. I am learning to parent the children I have, not the ones I thought I would. They are are doing great things with what they've been given and teach me every day how blessed I am go know such interesting, amazing people.
|And with that, high school was over. Goodnight, Basic.|