Last Monday I shared part one of this story. You can find it here.
This Monday I'll share part two...
At home, away from my classmates' prying eyes, sheltered in my mother's arms, I cry. I don't tell her why.
"Sh-h-h, honey." She tries to comfort me. "Things will get better."
I don't believe her.
One day she tells me, "The teacher says you need special help." She can't hide the disappointment in her eyes.
Recess is no longer a time to run and play--no, not for me. Instead, my "special" teacher and I are squirreled away in the only available classroom--the kindergarten room. There on miniature brightly painted furniture I struggle to catch up.
Catch up, become normal. I wonder if this is possible.
My classmates know.
"Baby, retard," they label me.
And I believe them.
"I can't" and "help me" become my most used phrases.
Despite the opinions of some educators and social workers, my parents continue to believe in the soundness of my intellect. Their challenge is to reveal it to me.
My mother attempts to teach me to cook, to back, to sew, to knit. I greet each invitation with a roar. "No! I can't! I'm too stupid!"
"I can teach her," my grandma says. "I can reach her."