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Ode to My Youngest Son

Today Facebook reminded me that, 10 years ago today, my youngest son was rushed to the hospital with meningitis. He was less than two months old.

That wasn’t even the first hurdle for him, though, despite his young age. He’d been an emergency C-section because the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck. He’d also been born during one of the worst heat waves in decades; I remember the hospital staff setting up box fans in my recovery room.

Later on, this darling of mine was diagnosed with benign hypotonia. Basically, low muscle tone. This isn’t something you can fix, really; he’ll always have low muscle tone. But if he stays active enough, it won’t be too bad or so noticeable. He did a lot of physical therapy, and it took him a long time to walk. He never even crawled. Instead he did this weird scooch that I’d never seen a child do before, nor have I seen anything like it since. But that’s my boy—doing things his own, unusual way.

All my kids are pretty smart, but my youngest is almost certainly the smartest. Also the most sensitive. He’s insanely logical, which can make him inflexible sometimes. He sets a lot of store by rules and tends to see things as black or white. We’re working on that. He’s been diagnosed as “on the spectrum,” but very high-functioning. Still, he struggles a bit socially. It doesn’t help that he has a slight speech impediment, which is getting better with therapy, but when he gets going—especially when his mouth is trying to keep up with that rapid brain of his—unless you’ve been around him a lot and are used to the way he talks, he can be difficult to understand.

That fast brain is one reason my son doesn’t like to write. He can’t get his hand to go as fast as his thoughts. Poor kiddo. He’s taught himself to type pretty well, without any formal instruction. I pointed it out the other day: “Hey, you’re fast on the keyboard!” He looked at me point blank and said, “It’s called experience.”

And he has plenty of that. This kid can sit down and work through a video game in less than a week that would take much older kids or even adults months. He figures it out and doesn’t stop til he’s done. He’s got persistence and focus in a way you seldom see anymore.

In short, this son of mine is awesome. Oh, all my kids are, but this one has had a few more roadblocks tossed his way. Yet he continues to go over, under, around… whatever it takes. He’s stronger than me, I think. And a master of puns. I love him dearly.

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