Friday, May 21, 2010

Ode to BJ

Yesterday was an especially hard day for me and my oldest (aged 15).  He is a wonderful kid with a heart of gold.  I don't think I say thank you enough, hug him enough, or tell him how great he is enough. 

    This guy is definitely not your typical teenager.  He has been my Den Chief for the last three years (Bears, and two years of Webelos) when no other adult in the Pack was willing to be the Den leader, let alone an assistant.  Since according to Boy Scout rules, I, as a leader, could not be with the boys by myself, my brilliant son stepped up to the plate at 13.  For the last two years he has been an 1st grade RE assistant, working for me.  He is wonderful with the kids.  He lead them in singing, praying, and games at the beginning of class.   He has won a prize (honorable mention the first year, a silver, and 3 golds) every year at the district history day fair for the past 5 years.  He has won a bronze twice in the last 3 years at the state contest (one was this year).  He is an altar boy at Church and volunteers readily for special events and last minute fill-ins (it helps that we live 4 blocks from church, but they wouldn't call if he couldn't be relied on).  He is an active member of the High School youth group and always volunteers when they need help.  Just the other day, he helped set up, serve food, and clean up for our Golden Angels group's (over 55 crowd) mother's day 'banquet' hosted by the youth group.  This year he was confirmed under the patronage of St. Florian.  What a proud moment that was for me and the rest of the family.

    He is not typical in that he doesn't throw fits or fight all the time with his parents.  He doesn't get into trouble with the "wrong" crowd.  He doesn't experiment with cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol--he is a type 1 diabetic, so those things would be life threatening anyway.  However, he does get into moody times that can be quite dark.  If he were a "typical" teenager, I'm afraid he might have come to some harm by his own hand.  All he dwells on is what has happened to him that is negative.   The one year he spent in a "Catholic" school he was bullied (by at least 3 guys), made fun of because he was hit in the face with a basketball and cried, ridiculed by one of his teachers on at least one occassion, and finely "talked to" because of the one time he stood up to a bully and punched him (in the arm).  He dwells on the fact that because he is diabetic (type 1--which has absolutely nothing to do with diet or weight) people treat him "like a baby."  At resident Boy Scout camp, the 'cook' would not let him have seconds, he was never allowed soda, except diet, desserts, or ice cream with the rest of the boys.  Typically, he is not allowed sodas when he is out with the scouts or youth group when they stop for snacks.  He is almost always left out when it comes to "treats" of any kind.  It's not as if he, the self-proclaimed history geek, doesn't already feel different.  He really doesn't need the help of the adults or kids around him to make him feel worse.

    Through homeschooling and more outside experiences, I had hoped to give him a more positive outlook and more positive 'self-esteem.'  I apologize to him and to God for my failures in this area.  You see, I have been feeling the financial pressures, the responsibilities of being the bill payer, the housemaid, the caregiver, and the teacher of five kids and becoming a depressed, negative person.  I need to do some "taming" just like a friend of my said on her blog.  Right now I am working hard on changing that negativity.  I plan to streamline the junk in my house.  Get my school reports in ASAP.  Hug on my kids a lot more!  And, tell my teenager how wonderful he is and how proud I am of him at least once a day from now on. 

Know what he did today?  He was an altar boy for a funeral.  He had to go without breakfast (his blood glucose was too high) but didn't complain a bit.  Boy am I proud of that boy who is as tall as the priest, and just as handsome as an fairy tale prince.  He is brave, loving, responsible, strong, and worthy of trust.  I have been truly blest. 

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