High school has been, well, an adjustment for Big Man. Let’s just say it’s been a rough year all the way around. He’s learning, on the fly, study skills, time management skills, prioritizing, and the fact there isn’t anyone to babysit him anymore, aka remind him to turn in the homework he spent hours on the night before. I’ve had to wrap my brain around the possibility he’s average. He’s excelled academically since second grade. We put him in all honors classes this year. Maybe that set the bar way too high. I’ve struggled as his mom to be okay with him not being tops in his class any longer. He does work hard. I don’t want to take anything away from that at all. (He reads these posts, and I want him to know I am extremely proud of him, at the same time I’m frustrated with the learning curve this year has brought.)
I was talking with my friends last week about this whole thing. They’re NICU moms too. First, one who has a son in 11th grade told me how extremely normal this is for a Freshman boy. Normal. Huh. She assured me he will begin to figure it all out, and next year will be much better, and the year after that even moreso.
One of the things I said to my friends was that I firmly believed he was destined for greatness. Why else would he survive such an early birth, overcome so many odds, and turn out “normal,” despite everything against him? My wise friend J said, “Maybe this is his greatness….being here, being normal.” I’ll give you a second……Read that again. “Maybe this is his greatness.” Whoa.
She’s right. Maybe being alive, being normal, driving me crazy, frustrating me to no end….maybe that is his greatness. And isn’t that great enough? For all intents and purposes, he very well could have died. He could be severely disabled by his early birth. He could be blind. He could be deaf. Maybe his greatness is in being alive and wonderfully average.
We’ve been able to tell his miraculous story for the last almost-sixteen years, bringing awareness to the problem of premature birth, the work of the March of Dimes. Even more than that, his life is testament to God in the fact he’s not only alive, but suffers no repercussions from his too-soon birth. My momma’s heart and mind needed to make some sense of his prematurity, so I would always tell myself, “He’s going to do great things. God must have a big plan for him.” I’ve come to realize this may be his great thing, God’s big plan….
He (Big Man) touches lives daily. He is so positive and upbeat. People like him. He does work hard. He may be number six of six on the varsity golf team, but dang it, he’s a Freshman on the varsity golf team! He’s getting B’s and C’s, but dang it, he’s getting B’s and C’s in all honors and one AP class (not that I want you to be okay with that, Big Man!). He has a ton of friends. He can talk to anyone. His story inspires many.
I needed to change my perspective, change my definition of greatness. He may not ever run or golf (so awesome that golf is an Olympic sport this summer!) in the Olympics. He may never be a Rhodes Scholar. He may not win a Nobel Peace prize, or find the cure to cancer (or premature birth). That won’t mean he hasn’t done great things. His greatness is in him being alive, being normal, completing our family, and maybe one day, being a great dad to his own amazing children.