Our eight year old Neshama is an angel. She’s playful, spiritual, insightful and a tomboy. She’s also dyslexic. This year has been beyond hard for her.
Being left back in first grade means that the kids in her class are a year younger than her. That’s hard. and even with that reading hasn’t gotten much easier for her. She has three weekly tutors (thank G-d they are all through special services!) [yay Jen Kaplan!] and she is still struggling. Midway though the year she began to get depressed. She would sneak away from the class, wander the hallways. For a good part of the school year she cried herself to sleep.
When she would get really down she would cry in fits –
“I only want to be in Israel!” Israel is the spiritual home of a Jew and the feeling that you get when you’re there is peace and connectness in a way you can’t get anywhere else. Even those who haven’t been there, know this.
She would get mad at me and I would say to her, “Neshama, I can’t help you. I want you to go to Israel so badly, but it’s not something that I can make happen. Ask the One who can.” Again and again I told her and again and again she cried and prayed.
Towards the end of the school year, she came home one day furious and miserable. She said “There was a raffle every single week this year. And two kids were chosen each week. The WHOLE year I never got picked. the whole year! And it’s not fair. Other kids just got picked by luck but I davened (prayed) all the time that I would win and I didn’t.
She was miserable for hours. She wisely said “It doesn’t matter what present you buy me. When you win the raffle, the whole class cheers and it’s very special.”
My heart broke for her. I am 100000% against raffles. Every winner means 30 losers. I had nothing to say. I simply said, “Sweetheart, the tefilloes (prayers) that you said still went somewhere. Every single one. And Hashem (G-d ) has a plan. You wanted to win the raffle. But He wants you to have something even better.”
I wasn’t able to comfort her. Parenting often means that you say things that kids don’t understand until they are twenty. But you’ve got to say them.
One week later her prayers were answered. Just look at the video and see what happened!!! And you heard her – she learned the lesson there is always hope!!
Meanwhile we have worked for a good part of the year to get her into an amazing school for Dyslexia. She got educational testing and psychological testing. We visited the school , we set up appointments and we just got word back that they have no room. They are fuller than ever. It’s so easy to give up hope. How will this little girl go to school? How will she learn how to read?
So now it’s our turn, to pray and to hope and to believe that miracles are possible and to learn from this little lady to never lose hope.