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. 😀