I am so ridiculously proud of this young man. Today, was his (second) first day of College at a new school, Mira Costa College.
His story starts many years ago, when he was in Kindergarten. At the time, he was so advanced, that he tested out of 1st grade. He entered second grade as a 6 year old, and didn’t even skip a beat. He’s always been big for his age, so no one really noticed he was younger than everyone in his class. Fast forward to 7th grade when we moved back to the USA, and he was moved up again, going from first term 7th grade to second term 8th grade. Still, no one noticed because he was tall, mature, and held his own with the other kids in the grade. He entered the University of Arizona 4 months after his 17th birthday. If that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is. The year away didn’t go well though. But, my goodness! He was barely 17 when he picked up and moved 7 hours away on his own! He gave it the good ‘ol college try (pun intended), and found some things out about himself.
Today, though, I am more proud than I was the day he started at U of A. Why? Well, because he gets it now, and he did it on his own. He came home from U of A broken, physically for sure, but I think a little mentally too. He dug himself out of a devastating situation, got a couple of jobs, and enrolled in College closer to home. He paid for his own units, and books, and has become almost 100% independent. He still lives at home, with the plan to save more money so he can move out on his own with a cushion and a plan. He buys his own food, prepares his own meals, does his own laundry, keeps his living area neat and clean, and he helps out when he can. He’s working so hard and he is happy. I don’t know a lot of kids his age that could have dealt with the simultaneous loss of his life long dream due to what he thought was an irreversible injury, and having to come home from college to tell his parents he failed for the very first time in his life, the way he has. There were so many ways this could have gone beyond sideways, but he kept his focus, and he is “getting shit done” (his catch phrase), and I am so very proud of him.
We are all looking forward to one day soon when the Neurosurgeon calls to schedule his spinal surgery, but need to have an allergy test first, as the medal used in the artificial disc has a tiny bit of nickle in it. Skin contact with nickle causes raised welts that itch, so he’s been instructed to see an allergist just to make sure the artificial disc won’t cause an allergic reaction internally. Just like with his father, it is one step at a time. This time though, he’s got a good base going and has his priorities in order. I am so excited to see what barriers this young man breaks down next! I love you my lion hearted boy!