I had a meeting with a group of people at my son's school today. It was the annual Exceptional Student Education meeting to discuss his gifted education plan. What that means is that some of his teachers, the guidance counselor and the man who heads the gifted program sit around a table with me and my son and discuss their goals for him for the coming year.
The older he gets (he's an eighth grader this year) the more the discussion turns to his "plan" for after high school and how we are all going to help him get there.
Mr. Collier, head of the gifted program, in the middle of the meeting, said "I want to share something with all of you that happened this past week which touched my heart."
He went on to say that my son, who had come into sixth grade two years earlier with the goal of someday being a video game programmer had been showing remarkable signs of maturing over the past summer. He said that he and my son had a meeting last week in which they discussed his reassessed goals to see if he was still wanting to learn computer programming.
"That's when he said something that really made me proud and touched my heart," said Mr. Collier.
He said my boy responded "No, I've decided to go into science because my mother has MS and I want to find a cure."
The room went suddenly quiet for what seemed like a very long time.
I was sitting there with all of these relative strangers who, up until then, probably had no idea why I was using my cane today. After all, when they saw me at the end of last year, I was walking just fine. I could imagine a silent, collective "Ah! That's what the deal with the cane is!" going off in all their heads.
But that was only a fleeting thought. Mostly, I was so damn proud of my son. It felt as if his words had reached out and wrapped themselves around me in a big verbal hug.
And to hear them coming from someone he had shared them with when I was not around took me so off guard I burst into tears of joy right there and had to hug him in front of all those people.
He, of course, was thoroughly embarrassed and will probably stay as far from science as he can now in order to avoid any future situations like that.
But it was a moment I'll always remember. I sure love that kid.