Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26: My Son, Saint Paschasius Radbertus, IEP

My wife took my son to be evaluated for preschool today.  We were hoping that he would be able to get into Headstart early, like my daughter.  I wasn't at the evaluation, but my wife called me afterward.  She said my son refused to do anything that the evaluators wanted him to do.  He wouldn't point out the picture of a ball.  He wouldn't sit still or listen to instructions.  He was more interested in getting up and running around the church where the evaluation was taking place.  Then, the evaluators asked my wife questions about his behavior at home and around other people.

The long and the short of this story:  he's going to be attending a class next fall for kids who have social and speech developmental problems.  He will also receive an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) from special education teachers, social workers, psychologists.  My wife said the word the evaluators used to describe my son was "sensitive."  That means that he has a short attention span and reacts loudly, sometimes physically to situations.  When my wife described our son in these terms, I found myself getting defensive.  He is only two-and-a-half, for God's sake.  How mature do they expect him to be?

I've had a few hours now to contemplate the news.  My son is gorgeous.  Will always be gorgeous in my eyes.  That's what any parent would say.  He's not perfect, I know that.  But he's smart and funny.  At night, he'll sometimes sit on my lap, watching TV before he goes to bed.  He'll reach up with one arm and softly rub my cheek with his fingers.

Today's saint is Paschasius Radbertus.  He was "abandoned at the convent of Notre Dame at Soissons, France, at the beginning of the 9th century."  The nuns adopted him and eventually sent him to be educated by monks.  He was incredibly intelligent, of course.  He was great in Latin classics and sacred studies.  After he became a monk, he wrote books on the Gospel of Matthew, the Book of Lamentations, Psalm 44, and "the first scientific monograph on the Holy Eucharist."  And, of course, he became a saint.  But the part of his story that appeals to me today is the fact that he was abandoned, unwanted as a child.  Look at the great things he ended up doing.

I know my son will do well.  By the end of the summer, he may have matured enough to be retested.  He is affectionate and loving, will give kisses and blessings (a soft tap on the forehead) to almost anybody.  I'm just having a hard time with the idea that someone thinks of him as lacking in any way.  He's my beautiful boy.  He's a saint in a toddler's body.  The nuns saw that in Paschasius.  Hopefully, my son's teachers will see that in him.  When I look at him, I don't see limitations.  I see infinite possibility.  And my heart is breaking a little right now.

Don't worry, Saint Marty will  get it together.  He just needs a blessing from his little saint son.

My beautiful boy

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