In 5th grade he competed in the science fair.
He borrowed my blow dryer. We bought him poster board. He scrounged some clear plastic wrap, string and yards of his favorite substance… duct tape.
He hand carved a tiny plane. He fashioned a wind tunnel.
And the little plane flew.
It was the most popular entry at the science fair. Parents, students and teachers flocked around and every time the switch was flipped… the little plane flew.
He didn’t win a single award.
The one thing he blew off, the one thing he said he would not do… was present his hypothesis. A simple statement posted next to his entry… that’s all they asked for.
He was heart-broken. My heart was broken. But. He. Knew… and the consequence was rightly paid.
So what do you do with a kid who is scary smart, creative… unconventional? The kid who could explain the theory of flight, but was flunking science… the kid who made it to the state spelling bee, but was flunking English?
When you don’t fit neatly into the box of life and school… you pay a price.
He paid a lot of prices… some seemed unfair… some probably deserved. As a parent it’s hard to watch the struggle… when you see the light inside of who he could be, what he could do… the same light you saw the day he was born.
And then just like that… he told us he was leaving.
He was sick of just existing.
He’d been accepted at aviation school almost 2000 miles away. He had student loans and financing in place. He could get part-time work. And he chose not to tell us until everything was set… there would be no turning back.
He drove away from our home with a map and a little money… I would have been scared. If he was, he didn’t say. I stood in the street watching… long after his car turned the corner… marveling at what had just happened.
It hasn’t been easy, but in the years since his career has taken him to the jungles of Ecuador, Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, locations around the USA and most recently, France. Along the way… he married and created a family of his own. Who would have thunk it?
What causes one to change like that… to reach deep inside and grab onto the courage to push ahead… especially when you know… there are some who expect you to fail?
And that’s the crazy thing… there really are people like that.
Nothing stopped him…
Thanking God every day for this one, the gifts God planted within him and his brave choice to pursue them.
Linked today with The Nester and the 31 Dayers.