Saturday, April 08, 2006

THE ISSUE OF WEIGHT
In my community most families have three kids, some even four. Yes, it is a Catholic community, and that definitely has something to do with it, but I'd like to think it's a matter of "weight", too. I have "only" two children. I've joked, almost from the minute that he was born, that Wil counts as two, though, thereby fulfilling the requisite number of family members.
Imagine my sense of validation when I realized Wil does not count for two, as I had thought, but as four! And, get this, my daughter counts as two!
Wil attends a Catholic school but receives special ed. services through Portland Public Schools. Recently Portland came up with a "weighting" system by which to determine class sizes. Depending on how many needs the child has, how many parent/teacher meetings are required, how many accomodations, etc., the child receives points. Their points equal the number of kids they represent when determining class size. Four. Count 'em. My son is four. His school will also use this information when admitting new students into his class. Because he is four, the class size will stay lower than usual.
Feeling Catholic guilt through association, I do everything I can to counteract his number four. I volunteer in the classroom. I donate my "time, talent and treasure" generously to the school. I hire my own aides to work with Wil so that the school employees are left to work with the other kids. Still, four? While validating, it is also hugely depressing. Am I up to the challenge of raising "six" kids? What choice do I have? In fact, I am more insulted than proud when asked, "How do you do it?" My only response... "Fully caffeinated. That is how I do it."
How do any of us do "it"? Every human on this planet suffers and is challenged. I don't know of one person who has a life easier than mine. There is nobody with whom I'd switch places. We are all "doing it", some with more grace than others, perhaps, but not with less "stuff". I look around and think, "Wow, their life is difficult." It is not better nor worse, easier, nor harder, just different.
I will embrace my life raising six kids, there are far worse things out there than that. For having six kids does have six times the rewards, as well. I'd like to think that my priorities have been shifted by having these six kids. Truly, there is nothing I want for them more, than to be happy. Report cards, popularity, sports participation, who cares? Are they happy? Are they peaceful, loving and compassionate? Do they return to the universe more than they take? I believe so, and that, my friend, is what makes me "do it".

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