Today’s challenge got to me

Today was an especially hard day for me.

My son is the biggest part of my life. He’s precious to me. His name is Connor. I’m very thankful to be a father and even more thankful that I had such a wonderful father myself.

My son has learning disabilities. They, as I keep on finding out, are subtle but severe. You can’t really tell because he seems young for his age. He’s relatively small and has a younger face. He also has Aspergers Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. It’s called “high functioning” and it affects his academically and socially. He also has a hard time with some fine motor skills.

I’m a single dad. His mom is definitely involved in his life, but I’ve been his primary caretaker for most of his life and it can be hard. You see, today I was trying to get him to understand simple arithmetic. Basically, I was trying to get him to fully learn what numberĀ  + what number equals ten. 6 + 4, 7 + 3, 8 + 2. He couldn’t get right it a slight majority of the time. It was 7 + 2 or 8 + 3. My son can’t add single digits to equal 10. Connor is 13.

I don’t know how to help him fully get it. He’s forgotten how to ‘carry’ the one in equations, …so 19 + 10 = 29, but 19 +11 = 20. Children in first grade are learning this.

He gets frustrated and embarrassed. He gets tears in his eyes. I get a lump in my throat but I have to appear confident in him.

After a half hour of him getting things alternatively right and then wrong, I had to go for a long walk by myself. It was a truly beautiful fall day. I came upon this small park that I didn’t know existed. No one was there…it was just this small section of grass surrounded by small trees with two stone benches. I sat down and kinda looked off in the distance. Didn’t know what to think. The whole time my chest was tightened up.

I’m afraid that Connor doesn’t know the challenges he’s going to face. I’m afraid I don’t know them either.