Today is a big day. It’s quite possibly the biggest day we’ve had around here in a while. Because it’s a good big day. We’ve been anticipating this big day all year long. Maybe even longer.
It all started a long, long, long time ago. On an evening where the only real details I can recall are ones of sadness, despair, and a determination to save a broken, withering marriage. It was an evening of “I’ll do anything to save this relationship.”
If you’re wondering if I ended up pregnant, you’d be wondering right. If you’re wondering if the marriage was saved, well…take it from me…having a baby does not a broken and awful marriage save. At all. Having a baby might prolong a long and emotionally draining marital death, but it won’t save the already broken vows.
I wasn’t looking to get pregnant that fateful night. Though I do think the pregnancy itself was a divine intervention.
Not one that was destined to save me or that marriage or anything like that. More of a divine intervention of God’s who was looking into the big, scary future (that I couldn’t even begin to fathom) and saw a future that I was too short-sighted to glimpse.
Because Cabe was born nine months later by scheduled cesarean section. I remember that day too.
It was a Wednesday. I started the day by doing a week’s worth of grocery shopping. I ended it by holding a sleeping eight pound, twelve ounce dark skinned baby boy.
The birth itself was fairly uneventful. Life since then? Well, that’s been a wild ride.
Cabe didn’t start walking until he was almost two years old. I think he just felt content wherever he was at at the moment. Talking was similar. Though he did learn and use American Sign Language for a little while. That boy could say “more toast” like a champ. He ate “more toast” like a champ too.
The marriage tanked after a steady decline followed by a serious nose dive into divorce. Cabe had just turned two.
Before I knew it, he was in kindergarten. Also before I knew it, the teacher was talking about holding him back. Something about “not being able to blend sounds.” I don’t really remember what that was all about because I dismissed her words without a backward glance. My son was going somewhere; she just couldn’t see it.
Due to a sudden move to a new town, he was enrolled along with his older brother in a different school. It proved to not be much better. That first grade teacher he had must have had a serious heart to heart with his former kindergarten teacher. Because this one, whenever Cabe chose a difficult book to read during the class’ reading time, would take it from him, suggest he read something “easier” and proceeded to stomp all over our son’s desire to challenge himself.
After that we (new hubby and I) did a lot of homeschooling. During which time, Cabe learned to read exceptionally well after a bit of trial and error. He also demonstrated a knack for drawing. While Cabe had trouble seeing his talent at first, he really honed his skills over time and could outdraw anyone…in our family. We’re not quite sure where he got this creative gene from, but we were all impressed.
Cabe re-entered mainstream public school sometime around the fifth grade. It was a rather spontaneous decision on his part that lasted approximately three months. He couldn’t seem to sit still there.
Then it was back to homeschooling where he read lots of interesting books, kept drawing pictures, and learned that he enjoyed working out. He also spent some time volunteering at the local public library. You know, where they keep lots of books that people read. It’s a place where people go when they can blend sounds and read big books. (I’m not bitter, I swear.)
We moved again during August of what would be Cabe’s ninth grade year of school. It was an “across the country” kind of move. The kind where new and exciting things can happen in the blink of an eye because you’ve put down all your guards and have delved into the world of the impossible and the unfamiliar. It was frightening in a giddy kind of way.
Along with the move came the decision to put the kids into public school; Cabe included. He started high school three thousand miles away from everything and everyone he’d ever known. Talk about intimidating. Some folks actually thought we were engaging in some cruel form of child abuse. I’m pretty sure those folks were related to those elementary school teachers Cabe had had. You know the ones who believe only in one’s limited abilities and can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to living the impossible.
Was it hard for Cabe to get his footing in this new place? Yes. Did a lot of interesting, exciting, and strange things happen in his life after the arrival in the last Frontier? Yes, yes, and yes.
In the four short years of high school, our son, has accomplished the following:
1. He’s learned the art of dog mushing which included: learning how to handle and care for a team of sled dogs, racing that same team of dogs in the Akiak Dash and the Junior Iditarod.
2. Gotten (and dealt with) a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder.
3. Read a ton of books.
4. Made friends in a community he’d never been part of or heard of before coming here.
5. Learned his way around multiple airports in multiple cities and has flown from one place to another on his own.
6. Gotten and held a part time job in the following fields: grocery, dog handling, pizza joint, and local airport.
7. Gone to the senior prom.
8. Gotten his driver’s license.
9. Made the school’s wrestling team.
10. Lived a lot.
And even though he’s had some really rough times (since conception), the one thing that’s remained a constant hasn’t been frustration or anger or a life of giving up. It’s been his continued willingness to keep going. To keep trying. To overcome whatever hurdles life has thrown at him.
Why? Because that’s what you do when life throws curve balls at you. You don’t back down or run screaming from the plate, you stand taller. You look life in the eye and take whatever it throws at you.
Last night, we went to a local church service that’s held every year to celebrate and encourage the graduates in the community. As the pastor spoke about life’s possibilities and Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you an expected end” I thought about our son.
Things could have gone seriously awry for him, what with the start of his life. He could have given up at any time along the way.
But he didn’t.
Was it easy? I doubt it. Were there times when getting to today seemed impossible? Yes, a few times that I can plainly recall.
Yet here we are. By the end of the day, we’ll have another high school graduate in this family.
I know that in some families, at moments like this, parents might be awash in the glow of everything they did to get their child where he is. And I’m sure there are many parents who have done a lot to get their kids to this milestone moment. I’m just not sure my husband and I are those people.
See, we have spent all these years believing in our son. Our son has done all the work in getting to this point.
For that, we can’t take any credit at all.
So, as I embark on this gorgeous day by going to work and attempting to contain my excitement for the evening ahead, I’ll do a few things in honor of Cabe on his graduation day.
I’ll praise God from whom all blessings flow. For He gave me a(nother) son when I least expected it and saw the future for this boy long before I ever saw an ultrasound picture of him.
I’ll smile…a lot. And capture every moment I can on camera.
And I’ll applaud our son for working hard and never giving up.
We don’t know what the future holds for him, but Cabe has been leaving his mark on the world since he made his entrance into it. It’s what he does and what I imagine he’ll continue to do as he heads out into adulthood.