I’m doing this new thing!
Only, it’s not actually new. I’ve been doing it for 10-1/2 years. But now it involves taking pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and opening up to share our journey.
This crazy little ride my family is on is not the ride my husband and I stood in line for. We actually never really know what the actual ride is going to be like until we are on it, right? As we move though the guided barriers waiting for our turn to load ourselves into the moving carriage, our minds begin to wonder, we plan in our head for the unexpected; there will be some twists and turns, we know there’s going to be some really high highs, and some sudden drops. We can even get an idea of what to expect by the name of the ride. Whoa, let’s skip “Tower of Terror” and head over to “It’s a Small World”, shall we?
In reality, I would guess that a very low percentage of lives go as one plans. Who plans for the extraordinary difficulties that life can throw at you? We would rather not think of it, let alone plan for it. Our reality is that we had a timeline when we would have a child. My husband would be 40, I would be 28. We would have this one child and he or she would grow up and attend the elementary school that I went to as a child. In the meantime, I went to school and earned my degree in graphic arts and was hopeful to work a hip job as an art director at a notable company in downtown Minneapolis. Pregnancy didn’t happen on the timeline we had planned.
Then one day four years later, Elliott was here!
There’s a lot of holes to fill in on our story. I want to set the class 5 gravel and pack in all the dirt. Elliott is in class 20 hours a week. That’s 20 hours I wait at a table on the college campus, twiddling my thumbs and surfing the net. I can’t look at people’s sunny vacation photos while living in the arctic tundra we call Minnesota and click though goofy memes for 20 hours a week. (Well, actually I can. And have. Therein lies the problem!)
Elliott made me a mom. I had no experience and the expectations I had about parenting came from books. (And every book said to do something different!) When Elliott held his head up at birth and rolled over intentionally and repeatedly at 4 weeks old, we just thought this is what babies do. Like every sleep deprived yet proud parent, I would post the fun things Elliott was doing on Facebook. It didn’t take long to realize it made some people uncomfortable.
One difficultly we found in raising a profoundly gifted human is that people in a similar situation tend to hold their children and their experiences close to their family. I totally get it! If we can’t even post proud moments on Facebook, why would we open the door to share more and possibly face criticism and judgement? I know there are other reasons why people don’t share as well. Privacy concerns, internet safety… all valid and respected reasons. However, it makes this journey really damn hard and lonely when there aren’t too many stories are being shared publicly. Parenting a profoundly gifted child is a lot of work. It can entail a lot of reading, research, trial and error, and mad Google skills to try to find a tidbit here or there on topics such as social and asynchronous development, schooling choices, 2E (twice exceptional) issues. And just being able to find a tribe; other parents with been there, done that experience to support you. When you find others, it helps you to breathe and know it’s going to be ok. Chances are you won’t screw up your kid. (Fingers crossed!)
While not a popular decision, as a family we decided we would like to share our adventure of raising a profoundly gifted child. Above all, since we know first-hand how isolating it can be, we want others to know they aren’t alone. I hope to share some stories of Elliott, choices we made and why we made them, and resources that we found helpful. Hopefully there will be some laughs and there will probably be a bit of sarcasm peppered in-between some of the drier bits. I also hope to answer questions, so please feel free to reach out to me! If you are curious about Elliott or stumbled on my site because you have found yourself also raising a profoundly gifted kiddo, I’m so glad you are here! Grab a cup of coffee and something sweet to eat! It’s no secret we need all the caffeine and sugar to keep up!