He storms into my life like a wild comet at the most inconvenient time – I'm in the midst of opening my holistic health center. From the start, he is different from my other kids − refuses to nurse, so I'm attached to a pump for months, screams when my husband holds him, and loudly objects to being confined in a crib or a playpen.

At Mommy and Me, while all the moms are dancing with their toddlers to "Hashem is here, Hashem is there," my son is truly everywhere, except with me, refusing to follow the order of the class.

I am well-known among school personnel and other moms, but not in a good wayIlan is a five-year-old pre-schooler now, who doesn't fit the profile of an average, amenable child. He is constantly in pursuit of his own agenda. Just the other day, he disrupted the circle time again and again, announcing that he's too bored to clap his hands and count to ten every morning, and would rather be reading about stars and spacecraft in a corner by himself.

When some kids tried to follow him, he chased them away by throwing books at them. I am well-known among school personnel and other moms, but not in a good way; more like a mischievous dog – droopy, sorry- eyed, head hanging down, wanting to crawl into some dark hole and hide.

So when I received an invitation last month for the upcoming kindergarten evaluation, I was so filled with anxiety that I couldn't sleep. What kind of fit will Ilan throw while we're there? And what will I do if they don't want him in the class?

This is the only private Jewish school in the area, and Ilan can hardly wait to join his brother and sister in a 'real' school. On the day of the evaluation, I beg Ilan to pleeeeease listen to the teacher and play nicely with the other kids. "I will, Mommy," he reassures me with a crafty smile. I watch as the small group of kindergarten candidates, along with a five-member admitting committee, disappears around the corner, headed to the classroom for testing while I'm left in the lobby, twisting my fingers and nervously looking at the clock.

Ninety minutes later, I hear Ilan's high-pitched voice before I can see him. "I played with dinosaurs!" he storms toward me, "but they didn't have Carnosaur," he adds sadly.

Susan, the admitting director, approaches me: "If you can stay awhile," she sounds formal, even though I've known her for years, "I would like to speak to you." My stomach sinks. I wish my husband was here. "I've been working in this school for over twenty years," she says, closing the door of her freezing office, "but I've never seen anything like this. Ilan refused to participate in any activity we offered; even manipulating his teacher into doing what he wanted – reading the dinosaur book and playing with toys. How is he at home and his pre-school?" she asks, looking straight at me.

On the day of the evaluation, I beg Ilan to pleeeeease listen to the teacher and play nicely with the other kids"Well, you see..." I start my usual apologetic song, "he tends to be like this, challenging authority. Believe me, we've been talking to him about it. And actually, I think he's doing much better," I try to squeeze out a smile.

"Your family is very valuable to our school," Susan begins, "however…"

"Listen," I interrupt, suddenly sitting up straight. "All I know is that he belongs here, in this Jewish school. This environment is crucial for his growth and development, and I'll do whatever it takes for him to be here."

My hands are shaking as I wipe away tears.

"Mrs. Agranovich," Susan's voice softens as she hands me a tissue, "we're on your side, and we'll see what we can do. I'll call you with the committee's decision in a couple of weeks."

In a fog, I stumble through the lobby, pick up Ilan in the playroom, and walk outside. "Where did I go wrong?" I think. "Why is he like this?" As I put Ilan into his car seat, he notices my tears. "What's wrong, Mommy?" he asks.

"I'm upset because at kindergarten evaluation you didn't listen to your teacher, and now I don't know if you can go to this school − or to any school," I say, sounding sad and disappointed.

"I'm sorry, Mommy," he sighs. "I didn't mean to."

Our eyes connect and my heart sinks − his large, brown eyes are screaming for help: "Understand me, guide me, save me from this power I can't control!" Suddenly everything turns upside-down inside me and I want to drop to my knees and grab him in a tight hug, keeping him warm and safe, like when he was inside of me.

I cover his face with kisses: "I'm so sorry for misunderstanding and misjudging you," I whisper, crying. How could I, his mother, not see through him? How could I not appreciate the intense power pulsating in him? How could I not be on his side? "Sorry for betraying you," I sob, burying my face in his soft curls.

From that day on, everything changes. No longer do I speak about Ilan coming from pain and embarrassment, but rather from pride and gratitude for having him in my life. I realize now that my son doesn't have a problem: He's perfect − a free spirit, a bright star of leadership descended from Heavens to accomplish his special, unique mission, as we all are, here on Earth. But I'm not in denial either. I do recognize that he needs help learning how to channel his energy in a positive way and fit into social settings.

So I stock up on books about how to raise a spirited child and follow their advice. I hire a behavioral coach to help Ilan communicate with the other kids at his pre-school and follow the class rules. We sign him up for Tae Kwan Do, where he learns patience and self-control. We praise him profusely when he listens to us at home. And I pray, asking G‑d to let His glorious light dissolve the shadows in my son.

“Where did I go wrong?” I think. “Why is he like this?”Two weeks later, the phone rings.

"We've made a decision," Susan says. "We accept Ilan into our school."

"Yes!" I jump up and down, bursting with excitement as I run downstairs to Ilan's room. "Guess what!" I yell. "You're going to your brother's school next year!" I sit next to him and take his hands. "I'm so proud of you," I say. "You're amazing, and you'll do great at school. I know you will, and I will help you. We'll do it together."

"Thank you, Mommy," he whispers, enveloping me in a hug. "I am so proud of you, too, for saying that."