Geez where do I begin? Have you ever had someone in your life who you just seemed to “get”? Someone who for whatever reason just seems to make sense when everyone else just doesn't “get” him/her? Meet Steven. He is my 5th of five children. As of this writing, he is 16 years old. He is my last child and while all my children hold some part of me whether in looks, beliefs, mannerisms or more, Steven's obscurity and free will is so beautiful to see since it is a reflection of my own characteristics. Characteristics that go against the grain and which took me a long time to accept. To see them in my son is profound, humbling and downright scary. However at the same time, they're beautiful to see. I can only imagine how my mother felt when I was thinking the same kinds of things that Steven does and how I was trying out life like there was a “reset” button somewhere if things didn't go as planned. My poor mother!
Steven has a gypsy's soul. He likes adventure and is most definitely a risk taker. Gulp! He does not conform to the expectations of society nor is he a follower. He is not a leader either. He simply marches to the beat of his own drum. A metaphor that is most fitting for him due to the fact that his sense of rhythm is amazing. His beatbox talents are the kind that would be sure to go viral if he could get over being shy long enough to allow me to video him. He yearns for a drum set and if I had the money, would get for him in a heartbeat. I really hate to see good talent wasted and his are being wasted. I can only hope that in the near future, I can get him the drum set he wants.
Steven is too smart for his own good. He loves to learn. He enjoys useless knowledge and trivia. As a younger child he would enjoy Children Almanacs, Ripley's Believe it or Not books, books about rocks, stars and the like. Yet even to this day, getting him to do his homework is a struggle. He likes to tinker and discover solutions to mechanical and electrical things. He enjoys taking things apart and reassembling them. He is the one in our family who has hooked up the surround sound, the dvd players, showed me how my own phone works and had discovered ways around his high school's firewalls so he can play games on his computer while in class. He is good at nearly all sports but has no desire to be on a team.
Yet I'd have to say with all these beautiful qualities, my favorite is his sense of humor. Steven has an animated way about him that when combined with his tones, comments and timing, all too many times has diffused a serious moment even to the point of my forgetting what I was scolding him about. One time when I was explaining to him that I had gotten a job and our financial troubles would soon get better, I told him that the “light was at the end of the tunnel.” His response was to get a thoughtful look on his face, stroke his chin and respond “But how long is the tunnel?” I was rolling! Another time a teacher told him (most teachers can't stand Steven btw) that if he were an animal he'd be a jackass. Steven's response was “if you were a body part, you'd be a dick”......BAHAHA!! Okay okay so as a mom I'm not supposed to find that funny but geez my son stood up for himself, refusing to allow the insult of a tyrannical teacher to get the best of him. Instead, he responded with a quick wit, and gave it right back to the teacher. The entire class roared in laughter and the teacher backed off. Yes, Steven is the class clown of all class clowns.
Steven's softness and his perfectly timed compassion when I really need a shoulder is nothing short of amazing. With my health being less that great lately, he sometimes notices when I'm tired and overwhelmed. He wraps his arms around me, tells me he loves me and suggests that I get some sleep. He asks me to tell him what's wrong and listens. Funny huh since most teenagers don't listen.
Steven's grades are awful. Not because he doesnt' understand the work or lessons, but because he has trouble sitting still. He has ADHD and I've decided to not put him on medication. Why? Because when he was on it, he was a zombie. We tried ritalin, concerta, stratera and adderol. The latter had good results, but the doctor kept raising his dosage every few months and informed me that by the time he would be 12, he would be at the maximum dosage allowed. Then what? No one was addressing coping skills. No one was teaching him how to live day to day. Yet all the “experts” were just wanting to have my son popping pills to cope. WTF? How is that coping? So I restricted his diet and removed items from our pantry that were shown to aggravate his condition. I kept a minimalistic home as much as possible to avoid excessive stimuli. Besides it looks cleaner. I talked with him and explained that there wasn't anything wrong with him but he's just a little quirky like the rest of us. This is just his quirk. And so over the years, he continues to learn how to identify when he's “off” and just needs to retreat and wait till he “feels better”. I believe acceptance and understanding are key when knowing Steven. It takes a little extra time. A tiny bit more effort, but in the end, knowing Steven is an honor, having him as a friend is a true gift and having him in my life is a blessing that I thank God for.
Why the tiny baby pics? Because when I was pregnant with Steven, I went into full labor at 24 weeks and was rushed to the hospital. After loading me up with magnesium sulfate and keeping me on my back for four days, a neo natal intensive care pediatrician consulted with me to explain what would happen if he were to be born at that stage of life. He would've had neurological issues, heart issues, brain and mental issues, breathing issues, and the list goes on. They stressed that it was crucial that one parent would have to be present to hold him and touch him every day. And that there was no telling what the long term problems would be. We (drs and I)managed to keep the pregnancy till the 38th week. So ADHD is nothing compared to how bad it could've been. The picture is of a baby the exact size that Steven would've been had he been born.
Steven has been the most challenging of all my children since infancy, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. All those people who have told me to just be harsher with discipline, to give him medication to dull his spirit so he could conform, who told me that he was bad because he got bored with their inadequate teaching “skills”....all those people were wrong. They were/are wrong in their narrow minded thinking. They're wrong to expect every child to fit in a box. They're wrong to think that all problems are solved with the cutting of a switch (yes he got spanked but some people's advice bordered abuse/control). Every child is different. Each soul is unique and to expect every soul to be molded into someone else's ideal is just unrealistic. It doesn't make someone a rebel or insolent. It simply means that it takes a little more thinking. It takes coming out of your society induced cloud of thinking and to take the time to get to know a really great person. It's been worth every minute.
Steven is not perfect by any means. He has his faults like the rest of us. I don't address them here because he has sheeple remind him daily of his shortcomings and what's the point in that?
He is a wonderful young man, full of life, humor, compassion, talent in addition to his good looks. He is smart, free, a risk taker and has one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. He is misunderstood by the majority but so were most of the great people in history.
He is Steven. He is my son and it is my honor to be his mother.
I love you Mijo......<3