Things have been a little slow at work lately, and recently one of my co-workers caught me perusing a book.
"What's it about?" she asked. I had it flat on my desk, so the cover was face-down.
"Parenting," I hedged.
"Is it about how to parent a genius?" another co-worker teased.
"It's not," I said. Technically it was about gifted kids, who aren't really geniuses. Loophole.
"I just believe that no matter how old your children are, it's never too late to learn how much your parenting has screwed them up," I said with a grin, flipping the book closed and shoving it into my bag. "Maybe it's not too late to undo some of the damage."
In reality, my son has been diagnosed as "gifted" for less than a month and I feel like it's already changing things with my friends. They've started saying things like, "My kid is smart...but not, like, YOUR KID smart, just regular smart." When he was labeled I wanted to shout it to everyone...he had been the problem child at school all year long, but here it was in black and white, a measure of just how awesome he was, how strong he was! But I quickly saw that instead of letting people into my joy, it drew a boundary. My friends were happy for me, to be sure, but now things are a little...different. A little weird.
So now I soft-pedal it a bit. Whenever I bring up how bright he is, I also bring up an anecdote where he was absent-minded, like the time he put his coat on upside-down and didn't notice. My friends talk about how many baseball hits or soccer goals their kids get, or how much they're progressing in their classes, and they all have that moment of mama-glow pride.
My kid has this one strength, and I feel like I have to hide it.
Don't think that I'm complaining or losing sight of the fact that my kid's intelligence is an amazing blessing. I just wish sometimes that I didn't have to hide it.