A Moment to Weep, Tears of Joy

Being a mother, a parent, is so hard. I fail in small ways every day: my too-short temper, words yelled that I can’t take back; or half-paid attention, the mm-hmms and uh-huhs while I’m engaged in something I’d rather be doing than parenting that second, the next second, the every single second.

In parenting the days of doubts are many. Yes, the days of love and grace are plenty, but there are so few days of victory.

But for me, today was a victory day.

I had a meeting at Zack’s new school, to evaluate his special education status and make plans for the year. The meeting was an hour. And then I walked out the school, dazed, and then cried, standing in the parking lot, the beautiful colors of fall all around me, as I realized that I did it. I really did it.

I got Zack through five fucking awful, terrible heartbreaking years. And he is now in the right school for him, and all the teachers and all the special ed team and the principal just LOVE him. And they GET him, so deeply. In the special ed meeting, I was floored by how much they completely understood how, when and where his anxiety and ADHD issues interrupt his performance and how they intuitively knew to help him.

The teacher told me about how Zack was reading  a story he wrote out loud to the classroom that had all these subtle puns in it, which were just FLYING over the head of the class and how she tried so hard not to laugh. The people who did the evaluation and testing went on and on about how polite he was, and HOW MUCH HE KNEW HIMSELF. (He said things like, “Oh, I’m too fried to do that part now. Tomorrow?” and “I make this noise (drumming his fingers) to help me concentrate — it’s not bothering you, is it?”

I can die and go to heaven now, knowing that I succeeded at least in this, in working so hard when he was struggling and helping him know his issues and not think they were failures and on never giving up on finding a place where he would thrive as his own person and not as a “special ed student.”

I know there’s more hard to come, there always is, but I’m calling today a VICTORY, and it feels so so good.

Oh, baby Zack, I love you so much. And I’m so, so happy and proud you are doing so well being the you you are, and that through all this I was able to make you know you never needed to be anything otherwise.


About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, longtime magazine editor (20 years in the business, 6 as editor in chief of Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. Right now, I'm searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after living through a series of very jarring changes that bumped me out of the life I was living: a son, then a divorce, a cataclysimcally messed-up house, which led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece), and then, one week after that book came out, my parents both fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and maybe my career), my son got very scared and then, later, was diagnosed with an anxiety/ADHD disorder, my parents died, and at the same time, my boyfriend moved in with my son and me and we started the long and very painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolds on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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8 Responses to A Moment to Weep, Tears of Joy

  1. Jenna says:

    Good job, Mama. Good job.

  2. Oh Stacy, you just made me cry. :)

  3. Rita says:

    As an educator, a mom, and a mom who’s had to fight to help other educators understand my son, this post just makes me so happy for both of you. I know that struggle and that feeling of not being enough as a parent. The moments when you see light shining through–when you know you are not alone (and therefore not wrong) in seeing all the good in your child, and you realize that all the times you did come through as a parent are paying off–they need to be savored. So glad you got one.

  4. Hazel says:

    I’ve been following your journey for a few years now and I got chills and teary reading this update. I’m soooo glad Zach is thriving! This recent success validates all your correct decisions. It’s not easy being a parent while going through all you have been through. I appreciate that and have been through some similar situations. Wishing you both much love and hugs from Vermont!

  5. Rita Arens says:

    This move was absolutely the right decision. I’m so glad you let yourself leave Brooklyn and embrace what is important to you NOW. Enjoy those beautiful fall leaves!

  6. Wow. I want to cry with you. My oldest has had some issues — there have been some appointments lately and some diagnoses that explain a lot about the last few years. We’re still figuring things out. I eagerly await that “we did it” moment. Gotta believe it’s coming. I have faith in her.

    In the meantime, relish this moment, momma. You did good. And way to go, Zack!

  7. Alexandra says:

    He really is amazing.

    I can feel how much he loves himself. So different from my feelings growing up, and that’s the part, that leaves me choked up with tears.

    What a mama you are… I would have loved to have had you. xo

  8. teamgloria says:


    you did it.

    and now you can *exhale* and go back to bed with a stack of hardback books and a pot of tea on a tray and some dried apricots and mango pieces and greek yoghurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon and r e s t.

    love, tg. xxxxx

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