Monday, May 22, 2017

Cheerleading - My Other Job


Twenty-six years ago I gave birth to a bouncing, chubby baby boy.  I held him right after the delivery and he looked beautiful to me.  Yet, the doctors and nurses that crowded the room whisked him away within a minute or two of giving him to me and began to work over him.  That should have been my clue that his would be a life of challenge.

Often, I feel a bit embarrassed when I post a picture of Nathan on Facebook and talk about how proud I am of him.  I don't want people to think I'm bragging or be "one of those parents."  But there is a reason I do it.

When he was 3 1/2 he was diagnosed with apraxia, an articulation disorder.  He could not speak clearly and his vocabulary was only a few unrecognizable words.  The outcome for his speech was not good and I was told he'd probably never do well in a school-setting.

He was frightened of everything.  He didn't interact with others.  He was extremely clingy.  He had chronic asthma and bronchitis and was hooked up to a nebulizer much of his childhood because he would get over one bout of bronchitis and end up with another. 

He was diagnosed with short stature at the age of 14 and we were told he may get to 5'1" without the growth hormone shots as his body didn't produce enough growth hormone.  He had kidney issues.  He ended up with a bout of Lyme's disease that permanently caused his eye to droop.  He had multiple, severe learning disabilities and was finally diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum at a later age. 

What a lot for a young man to go through!  So for him to push through all of these challenges and keep moving forward with determination does bring pride to my heart. 

I homeschooled him because I felt that I could get him further than him just sitting in a special education class in the inner city we lived in at the time.  And when we finally did let him finish out his junior and senior year in public high school the teachers told us that they were not worried about him because he would go far because of the parents he had who kept pushing him forward.

New York State has Regent's examinations and even the kids in special education classes have to take them even though they aren't at grade level.  The teacher told me that she told the young men and women to just try and do the best they could and not worry about it.  My son, who reads at a 5th grade level and whose math skills are not much better, actually passed that regents! 

And when he came home and told me he was going to a fire meeting with a friend, I had no idea how far he would exceed and how much it would change his life.  It seems to be his calling. 

We went to an awards banquet on Friday night for the county EMS Awards in Excellence and Nathan received an award there.  I was so proud of him. 

So I will keep staying in his corner and rooting for him.  I will continue to push him even though at times he doesn't like it.  I will post some pictures from time to time and do some mama bragging even though I think people roll their eyes.  I'm very proud of the young man he is becoming and he could use a cheerleader in his corner because he still struggles with feeling discouraged about his struggles.

God has been faithful to him and to us all these years and for that, I am so grateful.