Our eldest son, the second blessing God sent us, has been on his own plan since he was in my womb. That kid kicked and moved more than my other two put together. Then he didn’t want to come out…. at all. Truthfully, his head had grown too large to make the journey, but that’s another painful story for another painful time. On the tenth day past his due date, he was pulled into the world screaming louder than any child I had ever heard in my life. My first words were, “He is loud!” Then the doctor announced that it was indeed the biggest baby head he had ever seen! Nice. I pride myself an winning at all avenues of life…. including offspring head circumference. Hence my 17 year old patch on my sash of life “Biggest Head Delivered at Misericordia Hospital, Edmonton 20th Century.”
Then came schooling. He just wasn’t interested. He wanted to play and play hard and loud. He was good at it too. He’s been to the ER more times than the rest of the five family members added up. He couldn’t have cared less about letters and sounds and words and reading. Nope… let’s go make some cardboard wings and jump off the bunk bed. He was nine years old …. N I N E… when he first sounded out a letter and a short word. NINE, people. And I’m his teacher. What does that say about me and my skills and my training and my self image? Remember, I like to win in ALL avenues of life.
He was also nine when he designed, measured, installed and set up our backyard sprinkler system. No, he couldn’t read well, but his talent was evident elsewhere. He was athletic. Still is. He has played soccer and hockey and golf and cycles on a team. He’s strong. Won the fastest hockey skater in the USA when he was 10. He’s my kid, after all. He can ride his bike for 72 miles around a lake and then wants to go for a swim when he’s done. Winning!
Due to his multiple concussions and the end to his career in contact sports, we had him tested to set a baseline incase more concussions were in his future. We wondered, after hitting his head seven or eight times, if there was damage that was irreparable. The testing took six hours. I watched four complete Disney movies in the waiting room that day. Toy Story reminded me of the cardboard wings and a jump off the bunk bed that left a blue goose egg on that boy’s head for a week. When the doctor went over the results with us, his first words were, “There is no evidence that this boy has ever hit his head.” I replied, “That is a miracle from God!” He agreed. The doctor also told us that in his 25 year career of testing kids and adults, he had never seen anyone with better spatial relations when it came to hand eye coordination. I asked what occupation that was needed in. A mama’s gotta know these things.
At the start of high school, he came into our room at midnight, because that is when teenagers are available and willing to talk to their parents, when their parents are completely shot, emotionally unstable and exhausted. He announced that he didn’t plan on going to college. I about jumped up and shouted Hallelujah! I seriously didn’t know how he would do with massive amounts of reading required. He told us that God had called him to serve people, to build homes in Mexico, to be a missionary. Following after God has always been dear to our hearts for our children. I breathed a homeschool mom sigh of relief that this kid wouldn’t have to take the SAT. Then he announced that he didn’t really see a need for high school either. I told him quite flippantly, “That part’s not from God.” (I have since realized I was wrong!) Because we know that in today’s society it is expected to fit into the norm and DO high school. Biology and Renaissance history, dangling participles and chemistry, English literature and geometry. Necessary. Pshwaaaaa.
We should have listened to him. After two and a half years of classes that he deemed unnecessary, he begged and pleaded to take the GED and be done with this nonsense and get on with his call from God. More recently, he’s feeling the direction to work with homeless people. He’s bold. He’s been working with them for several years. What high school kid asks on Friday night if he can go downtown and pray for people on the street? Big headed kids. We finally realized that we should have tailored his high school years toward God’s call on his life. Maybe some classes on economics, running a non-profit, dealing with anger management, self defense and Spanish.
Today he passed his third of four GED tests. I keep telling myself, he’s only been reading the English language for EIGHT years and he is passing the high school requirements. His plan is to go this fall to a church intern program where he can work in a homeless shelter and do street ministry. We have to sign permission slips because he won’t quite be 18 when he leaves. We couldn’t even book his plane ticket on Expedia or Travelocity because he’s too young.
I realize this is partly my fault for reading real life missionary stories to him as a kid….. Mary Slessor…. David Livingstone…. their lives made a deep impact on this kid of ours. I took him on missions trips to see with his own Caribbean blue eyes people who need Jesus. He realized at a young age he could help. He was 12 when he hammered sheetrock on a ceiling in Mexico for five days straight for a daycare that is keeping kids out of orphanages. He got it. Big time! We couldn’t be more proud of him.
But for this one kid, I wish I could have a parental do-over. We have learned, however, to raise each one toward his bent in life. Coax their God given talents into shining examples of God’s mercy and grace! We will do better with the last two children entrusted to us. We promise!