Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Friend Indeed

Me, Carla, Norma, and Janet at T.O.W, April, 2007

I have a good friend named Carla. When we first moved to Cody, she called me and invited me to a weekend retreat called Time Out For Women, sponsored by Deseret Books. Someone had dropped out of their group and they needed another person to buy her ticket (thank you, Stacey). During this trip I got to know 3 inspiring women I would have otherwise probably shied away from. We found common ground and shared stories and, well, bonded.
Later that year, Carla began a Writer's Club, and put hours of work into our monthly meetings, where we have a short grammar lesson, a prompted free-write, and study an aspect of writing, like character development or conflict. Then, we share projects, bounce ideas off one another, and laugh. A lot. We linger, not wanting to leave, but we have smiles on our faces. The club is the reason I have re-discovered my love for writing. We chuckled when we realized it was mostly made up of our Time Out For Women group, so we named it T.O.W. (Time Out for Writing).
Now, after a year and a half of struggling with our oldest son, Braeden, Carla has again played a part in my life.
Braeden spent a couple of years resisting bullies. Last year, though reaching test scores beyond others in his class, acing every test, and being classified as 'genius', 'gifted', he slowly shut down... failing classes and withdrawing. His smile, always present before (we called him "Smiley-B" the first ten years of his life), faded. Of course, we stepped in, addressing the bullies, and with the help of the school counselor, were able to pull them out of the picture.
But, damage had been done. Braeden continued this year, to slough the classwork, ace the tests, and withdraw. With high school starting next year, we had to do something.
The teachers assured us, "It will be better once he gets to high school." And, "There are worse things he could be doing."
Yes, but, we want our son happy, now. We see his potential, and we see his joy of life gone. We want him to know success after hard work. We want him to feel he is worth something in this world. We had tried so many different things. We were at the end of our rope.
Enter Carla. Carla home schools her son, who is Braeden's friend. My husband suggested I talk with her, see if she had any ideas (this was huge, considering my husband's career in the public school system). As I spoke with her about the things we were facing, she was filled with compassion. We were soon discussing possibilities, answers to prayer (hers and mine) for these boys, and I began to feel hope... that we could do something.
We are nearly through our first week of home schooling. Carla is teaching her son and Braeden together, and I am helping however she needs me. I get to teach art class on Thursday, and I will be supervising Braeden's Algebra daily.
Here is the astonishing thing. Braeden has color in his cheeks. The dark circles under his eyes are gone. He falls asleep at night. He is smiling again, naturally. His jokes at the dinner table are not sarcastic, and he is eating. He has practiced piano every day, and even plays again in the evening, just for fun. He read his assigned biography in one afternoon, without me asking.
I feel like I'm getting my son back.
I really have no concerns about my younger kids surviving middle school. But kids are different.
What would we have done without Carla? I don't even want to think about it.
I know this is just the beginning, and we will have to be diligent, but what a motivator, to see the light back in my son's eyes.
I hope he remembers he loves to learn. And I hope he feels he is worth something in this world.
Thank you, Carla. You are a true friend.


Jeffrey said...

Hi friend,Happy Chinese New Year!!
Background music storm is very good, I like it.
Best wishes to your family.

Shelli said...

I'm so happy it is working out. Happy for ALL of you!

wyomingerica said...

WOW, what an answer to prayers, I'm so glad he is doing better. Keep us posted on everything.

jill said...

Thank you so much for sharing! My heart was broken to hear Braeden's struggles, but soared to hear his triumphs! I still remember him as a cute little guy following my every move at family reunions, I'm so glad to hear he is doing so much better.....thank goodness for the goodness of others. And can I also say, "THANK YOU CARLA!!" Even though I've never met you.

Gramma Spice said...

Please thank Carla for us. We have been very worried about Braeden.

Anonymous said...

What a moving post. Thanks for sharing these experiences. Your son sounds like a cool guy. My hat is off to you and Brandon for being willing to do whatever it takes for him.

bobbi said...

I'm crying-- hooray after the first week!! Glad to hear it is going good-- love you guys!

Mamaappah said...

Hi Krista,

Thanks for sharing that post on Braeden. When I was one of his cub scout leaders back here in Klamath he was my favorite. Just so cute, and so FUNNY! I have been going through similar problems with Parker (he is 10 and 5th grade now). The happiest, funniest kid. I too have seen the light disapeer from my beautiful sons heart. We have been working on it, and have a very supportive teacher. I have been freaking out about middle school. I will home school if that is what I need to do. Anyhow, it's very helpful to see how you have handled the situation. I hope he bounces back, and is able to enjoy high school. Take care, April Appah