Thursday, June 16, 2011

Celebrating the 'Big Guy'

Ever wonder how you have arrived at the time in your life that you are at now? How did it happen so quickly? Well we’re there. Our second-born child, Big Guy, is 17 and just finished up his last year as a junior in high school this week. We’re looking at one more year with him at home before he heads for college, pre-med and collegiate football (he hopes) bound.

Big Guy was always was such a man-child so to speak. Very grown up for his age. Always a deep thinker. His mind cranking out all sorts of stuff while I was prattling away with his school lessons. I’m somewhat not surprised that he decided that he wants a challenging career. He didn’t think he would be happy just sitting around behind a desk or letting his brain sit idle somewhere. Perhaps all that time he spent with either an action figure in each hand or a sword or stick was very productive for him. So anesthesiologist it is for him at the present.

Today he ranks number 10 in a class of 540 at our public high school. I’ll just raise my hand now and give credit to home schooling for that. Up until the last three years, he was schooled at home in our rather eclectic fashion based on Sonlight history program with some Charlotte Mason and Classical Education thrown in for good measure. It must have worked for him. I was tickled pink when he got his SAT scores back…scoring higher than the state or his high school average in the writing category. This was a boy that did not fit with a traditional writing program. His daily journals consisted of very little writing and a lot of action drawings. But I believe that by letting his mind grow and experience things, he was able to eventually form words for what was rattling around up there in his head.

In fact the other day he commented that the thing he could not stand the most at the high school were kids who were throwing away their opportunity to be someone. No motivation. No vision. No reason to get up and do something with their lives. I can only thank homeshooling for showing him that learning is not something to be done for a teacher but is rather an investment in your future. Leave that to your average 17-year-old to figure out.

So what will his senior year look like? Football has been his passion. He has played offensively and defensively on teams that have won divisional youth championships. He suited up for the varsity playoff game and got some special teams time as a freshmen.

He held the record for the most tackles his sophomore year as a varsity player until the fateful night halfway through the season when he was hit by friendly fire during a tackle after the whistle was blown. It blew out his knee which resulted in an ACL reconstruction. A lot of physical therapy later, he pulled himself back into shape for his junior year. We traveled out of town for their first varsity game of the season. That first play back on the field with his knee in a brace was a nerve wracking one for me. Pretty sure I was holding my breath. He got in his tackle and was exuberant. He was in his element again. I believe it was the third play, and right before our unbelieving eyes, a linebacker of epic proportions on the other team came down on his foot as he was pushing off on the turf. You could immediately see that something had happened. It was deja vu all over again. Just that sick feeling. This news was unimaginable, really...a uncommon Lisfranc fracture to the mid foot. There was to be surgery to fix it and no weight bearing AT ALL for six weeks. That equated to crutches while toting his 50 lb. backpack around a giant campus. Learning to use his foot again. Second surgery to remove the hardware. Physical therapy to gain back its strength. say the least, we are holding our breath for his senior year. The Lord for sure knows what is in store for this talented, now I guess. But I believe He has a great plan for Big Guy's life, and he has just been taking this time to teach him these incredible lessons in patience and perseverance. For sure though, we will all be a nervous wreck come September again.

So we will enjoy our summer together. Plan senior pictures. Post information on athletic recruitment sites. Look over colleges. Relish his excitement over football practice with a new head coach. Encourage his hanging out with his buddies that he has played with since fourth grade. Letting him be a kid a little bit longer. He’s earned it. But they sure do grow up fast.

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