A gifted individual is a quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters. Autonomous, curious and passionate. A sensitive and emotionally rich person, living intensely. He or she enjoys being creative. -definition of giftedness written by the Netherlands Study on Giftedness in Adults
Thursday, July 5, 2012
But It Won't Be Like That for the Kidlet
The other night, I was watching a television show. It was an episode that I'd seen before, but had always thought that the 22-month old boy they had chosen to play a certain role had to be a bit, well, slow. He didn't have much vocabulary - repeating a single word or maybe putting together a sentence of 3 words every so often. But this time, I was struck by the thought that maybe this kid wasn't slow, maybe my whole view of what is appropriate for a 22-month old child is massively skewed by my own experience of parenting a profoundly gifted child. It made me cry.
You see, we've just been through the season of graduations. I know a lot of high school graduates in the class of 2012, and we spent most weekends last month going from one graduation party to another. It's terrific. Except it makes me very sad.
These seniors have been doing all the things that high school seniors are supposed to do. They took senior pictures, they've been filling out college applications and getting their acceptance letters, they went to prom, they are doing senior trips and senior skip days and of course there is baccalaureate, graduation and the required graduation party (and I'm sure a lot I don't need to know about). They are looking forward to their next steps - some will be traveling on an in-between year before heading to college; some are going far away to universities; some are staying closer to home. They all have plans.
It won't be like that for the kidlet. How do I know? Well, he's 12 and he's already mostly finished high school. He took the SAT in May and scored higher than I did as a junior in high school. I could have "graduated" him with the class of 2012 without blinking an eye. There was no reason to - and he's CERTAINLY not ready to go to college yet (I have no doubt that he could comprehend everything in a college class, and contribute to discussions fairly well. But there's no way he could actually pass one yet). We will fill the time with the one remaining high school subject he hasn't completed yet, and let him start researching more deeply into his special interest field (aerodynamics). If I can get him into a college course, I will do so as it's appropriate.
See, college is going to be a gradual adjustment for him - not a big celebration followed by a move into the dorm, freshman activities and midnight ice cream or Taco Bell runs. He could be finished with his Bachelor's degree before he ever decides to move away from home. Will he ever have a dorm experience?
I'm trying to be happy for my friends who have their now- (or nearly-) adult children graduating. But I can't help feeling a bit envious of the normalcy. And I can't help grieving the list of childhood markers in our family that have been greatly accelerated beyond our capability to manage them.
But I've got to let him be who HE is. And that's never been, nor will it ever be, "normal."
Posted by Mona at 10:40 AM