Monday, December 7, 2015

A letter to my first born. (Yes, only by minutes....but still.)

Dear Benjamin,

You just rolled in after finishing your first college exam season and I have to tell you how proud I am. I felt choked up all the way to Belhaven to pick you up as a matter of fact. Granted, that might be from exhaustion (we both know I am too old to be keeping college hours!) but it is more than that, Benjamin, it is so so much more than that.

Your dad and I knew you were smart from the moment you were born. The NICU team intubated you even though you were breathing on your own -- they wanted to help you, let you rest. You promptly extubated yourself. You didn't want to rest. And that was true every single day in the didn't want to rest. The world was waiting and you were eager to see it all!

When developmental docs would ask if toddler Benjamin could put two words together, we would laugh. You had been speaking in sentences as long as we could remember! And you would promptly show off, assuring the docs that while you were physically delayed, you were sharp as a tack mentally.

But Benjamin, from the earliest days there were negative voices questioning what you could accomplish. We encountered people who would look at us with pity as they asked what you would do in life? We met people who turned away and excluded you from their play dates because they couldn't see what you brought to the group. 

One Sunday School teacher left a 3-year-old you lying in the floor while the other children gathered for story time. She didn't think you could contribute. When I busted in (I fear that isn't too strong a word) and volunteered for you to sit in my lap in story circle, you promptly answered every question she asked and quickly became her favorite student.

I don't tell you all of this to make you sad. I say it because today is a huge step in your life. Today, you proved to all the naysayers, to all those who couldn't imagine what your future would hold, that you are willing to work harder than most, to fight through adversity and work around obstacles to achieve your dreams, your goals. I know it is just the first semester, but Benjamin, now you know. Now you know that you have GOT THIS. You are stronger than cerebral palsy. You are stronger than any disability. Oh how grateful I am for the One who gave you life and promise and hope. The One who has a plan for your tomorrows.

And please let me remind you that you have also always been surrounded by people who believe in your potential -- the precious friend whose father was willing to carry you up three flights of stairs for play dates with his son; the scout master wiling to go over and beyond to camp at an accessible campground so you could experience the same thing the other boys did; the theater company who did not blink before incorporating ramps into every single set design; and now, this amazing Belhaven University with such outstanding faculty and students!

Enjoy your break, Benjamin! I think I will enjoy your break too, if you don't mind. But know son, that we are immensely proud of the man you are becoming and the work ethic you are developing! Keep dreaming BIG, Benjamin and GO GET YOUR DREAMS!!

I love you!

And P.S. my son, it did not go unnoticed that you went first in exam weeks....just like you always volunteered to take your shots before Mason and Claire because you wanted to KNOW if it would hurt them or not so you could help them prepare. I am not sure how you managed it but I know they are relieved that you continue to plow the road! Good job!

Carol - The Blessings Counter