Monday, May 24, 2010

Rant #261: What I Consider To Be An Amazing Story

I am still on Cloud Nine regarding my daughter's college graduation, and I will continue to be in that state of mind as long as things continue the way they are.

Let me explain.

I am proud as punch about my daughter, and I think she is going to be a real success as she approaches her teaching career.

And my son is no slouch either.

Let me tell you about my son. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at a young age. For a while, we had him on medicine, but he hasn't taken any in years. He is a good kid, but very shy.

Some people wrote him off immediately--I remember one doctor used a term about him that my wife and I not only found reprehensible, but completely unprofessional--but we didn't. We knew he had some limitations, but we found that he is actually a pretty bright kid. He just has to do things at his own speed, which in this "hurry-up" world of ours, isn't often accommodated--even in school.

He played Little League baseball from the ages of 5 to 12. As he got older, it got tougher for him to compete, as, like with the ADHD, at an early age, he was diagnosed with movement problems. This kid could not hold a pencil correctly until he was about six or seven, much less hold a bat. But he did, and he did the best he could.

When it became apparent that he couldn't really compete in baseball anymore, we were really perplexed about what he should get into, because he loves to play sports, even though he is clearly not an athlete--or so we thought.

A few weeks ago, he declared to my wife and I that he was going to go out for the school track team. Honestly, the last time I saw him run was in Little League, and, well, he ran like my mother.

So, we gave him the thumb's up and told him to do his best.

In the meantime, he was diagnosed with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. The curve was not that pronounced, but needed to be taken care of. He was fitted for a brace and learned to wear it just about 24/7.

In an odd coincidence, he went through a growth spurt at this precise time, grew a few inches, and learned to stand up straight with the help of the brace, Again, this was not pronounced, but my wife and I did see a difference.

Back to track. We asked him how he was doing, and he said he was doing fine. One day, he comes home from school and tells us that he made the school track team. We were both ecstatic and a little befuddled. How did this kid make the track team with the movement problems he has had since being born? And based on what we once saw of him, how could he do it?

(Just so you know, he wears his brace all day, but during sports activities, he takes it off.)

Anyway, two weeks ago, we found out big time.

Although I could not get there in time from work, my wife was at a particular meet, and incredible as it may seem to us, our son won the 55-meter race against four other kids from neighboring schools! My wife said he ran like a gazelle out the track.

He has ran two other races, and finished in third and in second.

We are so happy for him. It is like a confluence of so many things happening at once--the scoliosis diagnosis, the wearing of the brace, the growth spurt, and his own confidence that he can do things that perhaps even he thought were impossible just a year or two ago.

Also, seeing his sister graduate gave him even more confidence.

When he enters high school next year, he is going out for the track team, and I am convinced that he will make it. There will be a lot of hard work to make the high school team, but based on his recent performance, it appears he has a great chance.

And he is determined to go to college. He is a Special Education kid, and works very hard to achieve good grades. We--my wife, my mother and I--study with him on a daily basis, and even though he has much work to do, we think he should do whatever he wants to do in life. If he wants to go to college, let him pursue that dream.

My wife and I are very proud of him. Coupled with my daughter's recent educational success, I can say, like James Brown once said ...

"I feel good!"

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