It’s National Parenting Gifted Children Week! The one week a year when we parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids are honored and respected for the crazy things we do for our offspring. We get parades and accolades, fireworks and gifts, sonnets and brunches overflowing with mimosas and Bloody Marys topped with towers of bacon and artisanal olives and shrimp and more bacon.
Note two things about NPGCW. One, it’s in the middle of July, and two, it’s “children,” not “students.” I appreciate these, because they emphasize the fact that these kids are gifted year round and not just when school is in session, and that they are first and foremost kids, not students. It focuses on the job of parenting, which is going to happen regardless of the outside world. Imagine this: zombie apocalypse. Education and society as we know it is kaput. No schools to yammer about IEPs and differentiation and acceleration and accommodations (or lack of). We still have gifted kids. Now what? We still have to parent (and educate) these outliers, these amazing kids with their intensities and curiosities and sensitivities. There’s no longer a society focused on eminence and achievement, but we still have these kids with their particular wiring that influences how they observe and interpret and respond to the world.
Parenting these kids doesn’t get enough acknowledgement, not to mention respect. I’ll take my week in the middle of July, thankyouverymuch.
If I could send you a NPGCW care package, I would. Sadly, shipping would be exorbitant and the interwebz hasn’t yet evolved to the point of instant wine transport; I do have my Star Trek hopes for the future. So instead, a question for your week:
Parents, what do YOU need?
Not for your kid, not for education, not for anything other than you. See, while If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back? was a rollicking good read, my next book is more focused on the needs of parents and the self-care at which we all, for lack of a better word, suck. (Surely I’m not the only parent of a G2e kid who sucks like a Dyson when it comes to taking care of my own needs). Tell me your stories: what do you need, how do you care for you in this whirlwind parenting marathon? If you’ve survived parenting your kids into reasonably functional adults (my god, congrats!), I’d really love to hear from you: how did you do it, how did you stay sane, what are your tips and tricks? I may follow up for more details as I work on book 2.*
I want the world to know that parenting G2e kids is unexpectedly hard and thankless work. I want the world to hear our stories, and how we parented these kids, and how we didn’t lose ourselves in the process. What I wouldn’t give for a real, true, honest TV show/movie/web series/animated series/graphic novel showing what’s it’s really like to parent and educate gifted kids, but every G2e is so vastly different and the nuances are so, so subtle, that I don’t know if it could be done.
It’s time for us to be heard, not as parents bragging about their kids, but as parents. It’s time for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids to be respected instead of mocked. It’s time we take care of ourselves so we can get to the point of sitting back and laughing hysterically when our kids find themselves raising little intense versions of themselves. It’s just time.
So talk to me, parents. It’s your week. And I’m listening.
*If you’re not comfortable leaving a comment, please email me at laughingatchaos AT gmail DOT com. I’m also going to be at the SENG conference in Denver later this week, if you want to grab me and chat.