I had pretty lofty hopes and plans for my baby, considering that he was lying in the neonatal intensive care unit close to death, and I was a single teenage mother who had not yet finished high school! But I did have a very supportive family and a whole lot of faith. So I laid my hopes and dreams in God's hands and went about the daily life of keeping my little fella alive, loved and well fed and getting myself through high school and college.
For a few years, I didn't think that much about how he was going to become that Renaissance Man of my dreams. I took him places, answered his questions, took him to church, read him books and let him explore the world. My Mom bought him every developmental toy under the sun. And he seemed happy and very curious to learn. I come from a family, both on my Mom's and Dad's side, who love learning. I do, too, and expected that my son would continue with his quest for knowledge.
Then, sadly, I put him in public school. He went into the special education public school preschool for disabled children when he was only 2 years old. What a nightmare! All of a sudden his dreams and love of learning were dying, and it seemed my dreams for his future were dying again, just as they had seemed to do so many times before as he lay in hospital bed after hospital bed, with more and more dire predictions. By my little boy's 3rd grade year, I had graduated college and was married to my wonderful dh. After I spent a traumatic year as a remedial reading and math teacher in a public school, we began to actively research homeschooling. Then my dh and I pulled him out and once again began our journey towards making that Renaissance Man.
So where are we now? Well, the doctors were partly right. He is severely learning disabled and will probably live with us for many years to come. But he is in much better condition than many with Velo-Cardio Facial Syndrome, although his case is extreme. Plus, he was hit with having another congenital disorder, Dandy Walker Cyst Syndrome, with which many children don't survive past infancy. He is alive, very bright and an interesting person to spend time with. I decided to start a new tradition that I saw on another blog. I am going to list 19 descriptive words about the Big Teen for the 19 years he has been on earth. He is
- a naturalist
- a bibliophile
As for Renaissance Man, he has a natural talent for archery and is currently loving his fencing classes. Until he turned 15, he would only listen to classical music, by his choice. His $6 per week allowance goes entirely to books from the used bookstore. He loves to read Machiavelli and just bought a biography of a philosopher. He loves art history and ancient history, comparative religions and all kinds of literature. As soon as he graduates, he is going to start studying philosophy. He has a great passion for social justice and ardently seeks the Truth about all things.
Ok, if you are still here ~ I will leave you with some photos of his birthday.
His choice for dinner out was the Red Lobster. Yes, we broke the diet for that one night. I pumped lots of Vitamin C into the kids to help with allergy breakouts and it worked pretty well.