Dear Wesley

I don’t have a real reason for this post, other than that I never got around to writing about the part of our summer vacation where we went to Bryce Canyon National Park, in which I would have used the above picture of my son Wesley.  I adore this pic, and just wanted a reason to use it…  🙂  It just captures the precious heart of my son.

Of my four children, Wes is the one whom I least understand.  There are things about him that I just don’t get;  I don’t quite understand what makes him tick;  I don’t feel like I really know his heart.  But, he is so, so, so dear to me.

One thing I had a revelation about, regarding Wesley, a while back, is that he waits to be noticed.  He is in a family where… well, no one else waits.  Everyone else is clamoring for attention, for an open ear.  Wes just waits.  He likes to be drawn out, or maybe he needs it.  I have to be more alert to Wesley’s wants, needs, hurts and troubles, because he’ll quietly suffer instead of seeking help.

He likes to work with his hands.  He loves Legos and K’nex and Lincoln Logs, and can create very intricate, original structures.  He cares very little for sports.  He likes to be read to.  At 7 years old, he still can’t ride a bike.  He’s very hesitant to make relationships;  it takes a great deal for him to trust someone, though sometimes, he inexplicably chooses to spontaneously trust a particular person, lavishing his love upon them.  Wes has a favorite stuffed animal, a small dog he named “Puppy Boy” that my husband Martin gave him for Valentine’s Day four and a half years ago.  Puppy Boy is pretty ragged.  😀  Wesley loves dogs.  Our family dog, Tally, is pretty much his.  It’s just like he speaks the language of dogs;  everywhere we go, dogs love him.  There is a part of Wes that is very whimsical, and he creates detailed stories better than any of my other kids.

He can get deep insight into serious and complicated issues that even his oldest brother doesn’t get.  Last spring, I was reading A Wrinkle in Time to Wesley and Grant.  For most of the book, I was thinking that perhaps it was a bad choice;  the book seemed too complex for Wes, and I was afraid he wasn’t getting it.  But, there’s a part at the climax, near the end, where Meg, the main character, has a revelation of what she has that the nearly-all-powerful entity It doesn’t have.  It is trapping her brother, Charles Wallace, and this thing that Meg has, It doesn’t and it is the one thing that will save Charles Wallace.  Grant, who was eight at the time, had no idea.  I asked Ethan, who had read the book a year or so earlier, when he was 10, and Ethan hadn’t guessed it.  But Wes, who was six, piped up triumphantly, “It’s LOVE!!”  He knew it.  I almost cried.

Wes has some unique learning challenges, though maybe not as extreme as I used to fear.  Pretty much all of the things he finds difficult have to do, I believe, with the way he processes things, auditorily.  This leads to him having some rather cotton-mouthed pronunciations;  difficulty in understanding what is being said to him sometimes;  some rearranged sentence structures;  mild dyslexia;  inability to remember letters’ sounds;  serious difficulty in spelling.  I guess it’s the spelling part that is most challenging, as his teacher.  This is a child who read a 156-page book, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, in its entirety, during a simple outing to a store and back with my husband, about a 25 minute drive each way.  Yet, he had trouble a couple of days earlier spelling the word “mix.”  He got the m and the i, but that last sound completely stymied him.  He is in 2nd grade, and still on Explode the Code 1 1/2.  He is finally starting to remember the short vowel sounds, and to realize that each letter has its own sound, and that words are made out of letters that make sounds.  However, he very, very often forgets which letter makes which sound, and very often forgets how to form letters.  This is after 2+ years of phonics.  He has serious difficulty sounding out words.  It’s like his brain can’t separate them into the individual sounds and sound blends that form each word.  “Mix” is “mix,” not “mmm – iiii – x” in his mind.  Pretty much all of his reading is sight-reading;  when he gets to a word he doesn’t recognize, he just wings it, leading to some really garbled, unintelligible words if he then says the word out loud.

Wes also has some health problems — an autoimmune digestive disorder called celiac disease, as well as a severe, anaphylaxic allergy to peanuts, and a severe allergy to all dairy (it triggers an immediate asthma attack).  Perhaps for this reason, Wes is fairly small for his age, and seems to me to be somewhat fragile, physically.  Sometimes, fear will just wash over me, fear for Wesley’s health and future, and even his very life — this has happened since he was just an infant, before I even knew what his health problems were.  I really have to fight to take my thoughts captive, and to just pray, right then, for Wesley’s life and health, and confess to the Father that I do believe that Wesley is in His hands, and ask that the Father’s plans for Wes to prosper, and not the destructive plans of the enemy for Wes’ life.

Anyways.  I love my son.  I will continue to search out his heart, and get to know him better.  He’s a deep well.  And he’s awfully cute.  😀


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 16, 2008, in Celiac Disease, Dairy-free, Family, Homeschooling, Motherhood, Parenting, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Ah. The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I probably read that one 20 times.

  2. That sounds like my husband. He reads huge science fiction novels in 2 days, but can’t spell for anything. Has always been that way.

  3. I, too, have a child I still work to get to know. She is eight, sometimes going on 30, sometimes going on 15. She is so wired for girl-hood, something that I lack. Oh, I’m female, totally female, but Darby is feminine, and then some. She is the one who shares the active dreamstates with me, comming to me at least twice a week with nightmares or vivid dreams so bizarre that she must wake me and tell me all about them. She also cries faster than my other two (five if you count my two step-children), and she laughs louder. She is my child, but looks nothing like me, has completely different desires from life, and wants things I never even thought of wanting. She is a neuro-typical child sandwiched between two autistic children, and I work so hard to give her the amount of attention that she wants/needs/requires.

    Bless you and your Wesley. May you spend a lifetime getting to know him well, and always be surprised at what you discover!

    Janet Johnson

  4. Hey, Sissie!

    So… I had two nephews that were particularly *mine* – Joshy and Wessy. I missed all but 9 months of Wessy, it seems. The nine Jay and I were in Phoenix.

    But my #1 memory of him is when I was first talking to you about Jay and I moving to Knoxville. Wessy wasn’t walking yet. I was crouched on your kitchen floor, leaning against the stove. He crawled up near us, plopped on his hinie, and waved his arms up and down – no sound, just body-demanding attention. I patted him on the head absently and kept talking to you.

    So he crawled right up to me, pulled himself standing, leaned against my knees, and reached out and grabbed my face, one hand on each side, and made me look at him.

    He knew then, at however old it is that babies crawl but don’t walk, that eye contact was the connection.

    I think I scooped him up and took him to the living room to roll around on the floor.

    I was amazed that a child so young would understand whatever he did about human connection. I’m not a baby expert, so maybe he was just being normal – but it makes me think of him knowing that the IT didn’t have love.

    I know he doesn’t remember me like all that now, but I really like hearing you write about him.

    All my love to both of you, and the rest of yours, including FiFi.



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