Tonight my son will graduate from high school. I have been quite nostalgic all week thinking about the past 17 years and 13 years of school.
Jacob was a 26 week preemie. We were told he would not live through the night. When he did, we were told he probably wouldn't make it past three days. When he did, we were told that IF he lived he would more than likely have severe hearing and vision impairments and learning disabilities.
To date, his only hearing impairment is a teenage syndrome known as "selective listening." And he did finally end up having to have contacts last year.
Because I am nostalgic today I will share.....
Jacob always loved Disney movies. He could look at all of the black VCR tapes without the jackets and tell you which movie was which by the time he was a little over a year old.
I am a classical music nerd and by the time he was 18 months he could listen to classical music and tell you the names of the pieces. "Moldau, Mommy!"
Jacob never liked playing in the mud or with tonka trucks. He liked his "guys." "Mommy, have you seen my guys?" Action figures. Oh the action figures I have bought over the years. And he LOVED swords. I have said on numerous occasions that if I had the money I had spent on plastic swords and light sabers I could retire. If you ask Jacob today what the number one rule of the house is he will tell you.... "No sword fighting in the house." Said rule is a direct result of chotchkies that were lost in some of his more epic battles.
Jacob was diagnosed ADHD at 5. And let me tell you that is ADHD with a giant capital H. School was very difficult for both of us. I spent hours upon hours of sitting at the table and trying to do homework with a kid whose mind was somewhere else 99.99% of the time. His brain ran ninety to nothing and sitting still long enough to do schoolwork at school or at home was almost impossible. Exasperated is a good word to describe how I felt with him most of the time. Jacob was a happy, lovable kid, but he was HARD.
In 6th grade Jacob joined band. His band director was someone that I went to school with and was in band with in school and in college. Jacob absolutely loved him. Jacob loved band. Jacob would eat, sleep and breathe band. And Lord of the Rings. And Harry Potter. And Yu-Gi-Oh. And Pokemon. And Star Wars. But band was almost a complete turnaround for him. It was amazing. And I was grateful. He also discovered his love for writing and was in a creative writing class after school with a teacher that claimed Jacob was a genius and begged me to keep him in the writing class even if she had to transport him herself.
In 6th grade he also had a major personality conflict with his math teacher. He also failed math that year, which meant he couldn't pass the 6th grade. I tried to work something out with the school. I cried, I fought, I argued, I pleaded. Finally, I just filed for mediation with the State Department of Education and got him into summer school. He loved his summer school teacher, who ended up being his 7th grade math teacher as well. She said that Jacob having to go to summer school was pointless because he knew how to do everything that she gave him. He knew how to do his work, but most of the time he just wouldn't do it. Every year we would hold our breath at the end of the school year to see if he could pull his grades up enough to pass. And every year we would try and tell him that next year was going to be different. I fought and rallied for him for 10 years to try and keep him motivated. So in the 9th grade, his teachers called a conference to tell me that he was going to fail Biology I and Algebra I. They asked me what I wanted to do. As hard as it was, I told them to let him fail. I had fought for him long enough; he had to do it on his own. I told him that I was done. It was time he stepped up to the plate. 10th grade he stepped up to the plate. 10th grade was a lot better and he made honor roll for the first time ever.
The we moved 50 miles away to a different school district his junior year. He was devastated. He didn't want to leave his friends. He didn't want to leave his school that had grown up in with almost 400 kids in his class to go to a school with kids he had never met and a school that will graduate somewhere around 40 this year (I think their biggest class ever was like 46). He didn't want to leave the band that had 120 kids in it that went to State Championship every year to be part of a struggling little band that had 10 instrumentalists.
It was one of the best things that could have ever happened to him.
He will graduate tonight. A member of the Beta Club. The Art Honor Society. The Spanish Honor Society. He will have cords for Art and Beta Club and for being a faithful blood donor. He was the drum major of his struggling little band. He was on the high school golf team. He was on the rocket team. He organized and spoke at See You at the Pole events. He was Student of the Month.
He is also very involved in our church. He will go on a mission trip this summer. He will be a camp counselor at band camp. He has a part-time job. He teaches a class of 3rd and 4th graders at AWANA.
He is an awesome kid. Everyone and I do mean EVERYONE loves him. He loves God. He loves golf. He loves Ole Miss. He loves band. He loves his Nanny. He loves texting. He loves music. He loves ice cream. He loves vegetable soup. He likes to eat the heart out of an onion with a piece of cornbread. He doesn't really care much for vegetables, so I learned to hide them in his food. He loves Oakleys. He loves G-Shock watches. He loves Under Armour. He loves Toms. He fights with his sister. He does his own laundry. He helps around the house without me having to ask him. He is very routine. He goes to bed at 9:00 every night because that's what he does. The only thing that he knows how to cook is ramen and grilled cheese sandwiches. His laugh is contagious. His smile is beautiful. He is beautiful and perfect in every way and I am so very proud of the man that is growing into.
I have said that after all the heartache and tears and torture of trying to get him through school that I was going to dance a jig when he graduated and have the biggest shindig these parts have ever seen. I have said a hundred times that I was not going to cry as I sit here all teared up trying to type.
Jacob is going to school on scholarship to the local community college. After that, he plans to transfer to Ole Miss. He wants a degree in English. He has also talked at great length about Seminary. He feels that the Lord has called him into the Ministry. I have told him that if the Lord has called him, he most definitely needs to go.
I guess if I cry, I cry. Jacob has earned my proud tears, and he most certainly deserves them. As far as my happy dance, I may just have to do that for principle. As far as the shindig.... I think we will just enjoy a happy time with our family over my mom's chicken salad and firecrackers.