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Happy? Sad? Oh, I don't know...

Larry's Wife

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My son Nick has struggled with spelling for years. He wouldn't let me help him study. We just couldn't work together. So he decided long ago that he could never learn how to spell. Dang, he inherited Larry's spelling gene.

But since Larry passed away, I have tried really hard to create a new family dynamic. I'm trying to be more patient. I'm walking cautiously. I'm picking my battles. And I waited until his interim report card to strike. Failing spelling. Again. We had a conference with the teacher. We all agreed that some studying time would be beneficial.

So, last week, we started. I kept it light. I was super-patient. Nick was cooperative. And he got a C. Barely, but he got a C!

The teacher assigns as homework any misspelled words to be written 10 times each. Well, Nick tested us. Spelled all the words wrong!! So, I told the teacher to expect the paper to be redone and turned in the next morning. I told Nick that he had to redo the paper. He resisted. I was calm. He relented. He showed the paper to me. Instead of writing each word 10 times, he wrote the letters 10 times down the page. The "tell" was in the L's and T's. One long line down the paper. So I told him he had to redo it. He wasn't learning how to spell the words if he wasn't writing them down individually. He resisted. I was calm. I told him he could either take the few extra minutes to do it right or go to his room and think about it. He went to his room and thought about it. Then he asked me if I was going to let him go to church youth group that night if he didn't do the work. (Larry wouldn't have let him go.) I told him that one thing didn't have anything to do with the other, but if he didn't do the work, he wouldn't be doing anything except youth group. He redid the paper perfectly.

We started a new list this week. We studied every night. And I honestly believe we both enjoyed it! Last night, he nailed all the words. Today after school he says, "Mom! Mom! I've got great news!! I got a 100% on my spelling test today!! Only one in the class!"

I was so happy for him. And proud. And then I was sad because I couldn't share his triumph with Larry. And then I wondered…if Larry would have lived, would we be celebrating this victory today?

I've changed since Larry died. Maybe, just maybe, for the first time in my life, I've finally stepped up to the plate as a parent. Nick seems to be thriving. And growing into the responsible young man we always knew he could be. I should be so happy for him. And I am happy for him, and I'm so very proud of him. But I'm also feeling so guilty that it took Larry's death for me to finally become an effective parent to our son.

Where is the line drawn? At what point do you forgive yourself for the past and grab onto the future without looking back?

Oh, and Nick got a new snake today. Lives in the house. An early birthday present for getting 100% on his spelling test. I know, I have lost my mind completely.....

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Thanks for writing Lynn. Things in life just happen in the strangest ways. Who knows what would have happened if Larry was alive. I am sure he is proud of you and your son regardless. You have nothing to wonder about other than how you deal with today and your current circumstances. And it is heartwarming to read your words about your sons successes. My son is 12 and is thriving this year in many ways I never would have predicted. It just does my heart good to see it. I hope you and he continue to thrive and grow.


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Thanks for that, Lynn. It so reminds me of the problems we had with our son almost 30 years ago -- and of the two or three times when everything came together and the weight of the world was lifted from our shoulders, at least for a while. What a great feeling!

Then came the day some years later when I suddenly realized he was able to do a few things better than I'd ever been able to do them. Next came a few more things, then still more things, and today there's not much left where dear old Dad retains the upper hand. When that started happening, I was surprised at my reaction. Instead of feeling envious or sad that my own performance was starting to slip, I felt immense pride in his development and the fact that he was now surpassing me. Our relationship, a little rocky for a while, is now a source of great satisfaction.

I know Larry is very proud of you and of Nick. Aloha,


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Oh Lynn,your post IS both very happy and sad. As a former teacher I can fully appreciate all that went into Nick's 100% and I applaud you both. The fact tha Nick complied and did the assignment correctly shows maturation of which you should be very proud. However, I must add, that I'm not sure I agree with the writing 10X. But that is a whole other issue :? .

As to the guilt you feel ~ you must remember that you did the very BEST you could with what you had at the time. There's nothing at all to forgive.

I am sorry Larry was not present in the flesh to celebrate this milestone. I beleive he IS celebrating in spirit though. Give Nick a big pat on the back from me. And bless you for allwoing a SNAKE in the house!!!!!!! That's YIKES big time :roll: !


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Lynn couldnt see straight first time after reading your post !!Made me sad but a happy sad Ya know!! Life is what it is. Its the love that creates the memories. Nothing will ever makie us forget the memories. The cance rcan trake everything except for the Love that we have for those that always fight. WHo knows what would happen No one! remember the good times cherish the memories and hold each other close always. Remember You always have an angel watchin over ya!! Be proud of all the accomplishmnets always... Hugs and prayers(((((()))))))

P.S. The guilt and 5$ will buy you a coffee at starbucks!!(Forget the guilt, its nothin)

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I can so relate to the story you wrote about your Nick. My Nick was 14 when I was diagnosed and he now (at age 16) admits he did everything in his power to pi$$ me off because he was SO angry that I was sick. But he has matured now and he has become a wonderful son (altho still 16 so we do have rough spots). Your Nick is probably doing the same - hes angry that he lost his dad and is probably trying to test you. Bless your heart that you passed that test. And bless Nick that he apparently decided to step up to the plate and show some maturity and cut you some slack. And altho there will be lots of times when he backslides, I think he is trying to feel better about himself and the whole situation. I hope you and him can talk about it together, I know my long talks with my Nick fell on deaf ears for a long time, and finally he began to listen.

As far as feeling like Larry isn't sharing this with you and Nick - I am sure he is!! He is smiling down on the both of you. I am sure he is proud of BOTH of you!!

As far as the snake goes..................yikes!!! :lol::lol::lol:

Hugs to you and Nick -

Patti B.

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You all are simply awesome! I really appreciate everything you have said.

As for that snake, I hope my decision doesn't backfire on me. The last time Nick had a snake in the house, it escaped. It creeped Larry out for weeks, just thinking about it. We never did find it, so it must have found its way outside. I'm not really afraid of snakes, but I don't like to come upon them in unexpected places, to be sure! :shock:

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What a heart warming story. You must be so proud of him and I am so proud of you. You are awesome. Maybe your husbband giviing some encougagment here.

You are so special and I know your son realizes that and just needed love, patience and perservance. And it paid off, big time...

I just don't know about the snake though. :roll:

Good Goiing!

Maryanne :wink:

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