Aidan has a July birthday, like billions of other people. He came into the world as a surprise; a month and a half early, six weeks premature like his sisters would be years late. We were both very lucky; he had only fleeting, minor health issues. He was a gift in every possible way. The love you feel for your child; well, there is simply nothing else like it in the world. He has saved me from myself in more ways than I can count. When he was two he started preschool and he did great. He went for three years and then he started kindergarten. I don't know when I realized that Aidan was younger than most of his classmates; even if I had realized then, I don't think it would have changed my mind about when to start him in school, but it would have if I would have known what would happen right around third grade.
Aidan did fine, great even, in school. His only issue was penmanship for which I tried to get him occupational therapy but he didn't qualify because it was secondary and he didn't have a primary disability. So his dad and I had him practice writing his name with a pencil in clay, and we made that kid hold everything in a pencil grip....you should have seen him pee (kidding). No matter what we did his hand writing was terrible; still is. He will never win any contests for his beautiful hand writing. His grades were always good. In third grade his grades became a little bit of a challenge and then I started noticing that he wasn't mean. Which, I know, sounds weird, but kids are mean. Aidan never was and he didn't get it when other kids were. From third grade on Aidan struggled with grades. Middle school was a nightmare of being bullied and bad grades. In 7th grade he was diagnosed with inattentive AD/HD (formerly known as ADD). Just before 9th grade Aidan decided he wanted to try taking medication for his ADD. He felt like he was working really, really hard just to keep his head above water. We started him on medication. It made an immediate difference in his grades and his attitude about himself and school. Half way through the year he had a block class that was broken up in the middle with lunch; when that happened he realized that by the time he was back in class after lunch there was a night and day difference in his focus and ability to pay attention. By that time of day his medicine had worn off. So we added a small dose at lunch; the rest of his grades shot up.
I'm not suggesting medication, I'm just telling you what worked for Aidan. On his last report card he got 4 As, a B and a C. I nearly died of happiness. Monday I got his progress report he has 5 As (English is 100% if you care about these things; I do) and an F. Yes, an F. The F was in Web design; his chosen career path, it was a 29%. I congratulated him on the As and asked about the F. He wanted to focus on the As. Actually, he said he thought the grade was wrong and would look into it. Turns out, he has an 87% in the class. Who knew?
Today, today, he killed me dead. Just killed me. He brought home his practice ACT test. It turns out; he's a genius. He says being called a genius makes him feel like a douche bag. I don't care. HE IS A GENIUS DOUCHE BAG; which is the best kind! His projected ACT score is 25-29 which puts him in the "highly selective" column for college choice. Do you know how many columns come after "highly selective"? None. None come after it, it is the highest column. His reading was at 93%, science at 95%. His algebra scores show 100% of students preforming below him. Because he is a genius. I don't want to name drop, well okay, I do; but Northwestern, University of Chicago and Bradley were all thrown around as good college matches for my genius kid.
So I've been thinking about all of this since he got home and here's the thing; I am super proud of him. But, as it turns out, I don't really care that much about the grades. I'm glad they will help him get to where he wants to be in life. What I want is for Aidan to be happy. Happy and doing what makes him happy on a daily basis. So today I was excited for how he felt about himself. What is exciting about the grades to me is how hard he has worked and how far he has come. There have been points on his journey when I thought I might lose my kind hearted, funny boy to the world at large. But I didn't. He is still kind hearted. He is by far the funniest person I know. I'm really glad that he will be able to go to college and get a fantastic education if he wants to. When he was little I used to think he might grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer or even president (if he can do a better job than me with the whole skeleton thing); those things I let go of long ago. The thing is, I'll be equally happy if he wants to grow up and be a stand-up comedian; and, in fact, that one might be hard for me to let go of, he would be really, really good at it.