I Hate It When The Talking Heads Are Right

Luke back when life was all do-rags and cream puffs.

A little less than two weeks ago, I wrote about a terrible nightmare I had about my boys. That nightmare, similar to another one I had a couple years ago, highlighted some underlying guilt I have about not having devoted as much time and attention to my youngest son as I have to my oldest. My oldest son, diagnosed as ADHD three years ago, required a lot of extra time and effort from me. I felt incredibly grateful that Luke was an easy child who was plugging along in school and appeared to be relatively average. That was until the bottom dropped out.

Luke had a delay with his reading skills, but he was holding his own. While not reading at the same level as his classmates, his teachers had seen some progress. We had too. His school grades were decent. All was fine as far as we could tell. Then, with the start of this school year, I noticed that my son who had gotten mostly A and B grades in spelling was suddenly unable to pass his spelling tests. Something seemed off, so we paid a school psychologist to test him for possible learning difficulties. After reviewing his school work and spending six hours testing and observing him she told us that she suspects he is dyslexic and most likely ADHD like his brother. She suggested we immediately get him into intensive tutoring with a dyslexia specialist.

Today, Luke started that tutoring. Mrs. B spent an hour with Luke in our kitchen. I could hear bits and pieces of the session, but I stayed away so as not to be a distraction to my son who is already somewhat easily distracted. When the session was over, Luke ran upstairs and I went down to speak with the tutor. When she asked me to sit down, I should have known I was in for it. She told me that not only was she sure he’s dyslexic but she believes he has “severe” dyslexia and dysgraphia. In other words, not only does he struggle with reading but his writing is also a problem. She spent about a half an hour with me, scrawling information on a lined piece of notebook paper about holistic treatments, dietary changes, dyslexia support groups, books I should read, a summer camp Luke should attend, and specialized schools we should look at getting Luke into as soon as humanly possible. I was dumbfounded. I did not see this coming at all. She put her hand on mine and told me (as a fellow parent of a dyslexic child) to “have a glass of wine and a good cry.” Seriously? Thanks, lady.

I took her advice, though, and was crying as I locked the door behind her. My first stop was the basement where through clouded eyes I spied a shiraz, pulled it from its storage space, and cradled it lovingly as I ascended the stairs. I was uncorking the wine when hubby came through the door and I was able to share the news with him. I’m an introvert. I need time to process things. I don’t think quickly on my feet. As the tutor was being straight with me (something I am grateful for even though what she said sucked harder than my Dyson), my brain shut off. It took me a good hour to get my bearings again, to stop feeling sorry for myself, and come back to the place where I usually live, where I know that my sons are gifted in their own way and will be just fine.

Still, I can’t help but think back to those dreams…the ones where I have so much guilt for not being there for Luke. Someone or something in the universe heard my complaints and my concerns. I’m being afforded the opportunity to make up for what I’ve been lax about. Luke gets to be my focus for a while. I get to spend some time making sure he is getting the help he needs to be successful. I will get to learn an entirely new vocabulary to help me deal with his learning differences. I will start using phrases like IEP and 504. I will get to spend hours at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado again, devoting my energy to Luke. Luke will no longer be neglected. This is the universe’s way of correcting the slight I noticed. I sincerely hope this means those horrific nightmares will become a thing of the past. There had better be some payout from this, right?

As I sit here tonight, a catchy Talking Heads song keeps playing in my brain…”Watch out, you might get what you’re after.”


  1. I understand all too well the overwhelming trauma of hearing a dire ‘diagnosis’ concerning a chilld. However, the mantra I had then which proved to be very effective and, I might add, successful was; Take one day at a time and in spite of the challenges, enjoy the best you can. When life’s challenges and opportunities are spread over 20, 30 and even 40 years amazing things happen and life can be very good. Been there done that.

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