When selecting summer day camps for Oscar and Edgar, I tend to start by finding those that reinforce their existing interests (Oscar spent an edifying week at Physics and Chemistry camp, and Edgar is currently in his glory at horseback-riding camp). I also like the camps not to overlap; in other words, while Oscar is at camp, I like to spend as much one-on-one time with Edgar as I can; and while Edgar is at camp, I like to hang out with Oscar. August still naps for at least two hours every day, so summer camp truly does present a unique opportunity in a family of three boys.
Today’s excessive heat and humidity, though, rendered me incapable of even making a sandwich for Oscar and August’s lunches. So by 11 AM, I suggested we go out for lunch. An air-conditioned venue and restaurant macaroni and cheese was a recipe for happiness all around. And I thought for sure they would enjoy the extra attention and proportionate serenity that dining with two–as opposed to three–children affords. I flipped one of the placemats and wrote Oscar’s and August’s names and asked them to color their letters.
August started; and while he colored in his name, Oscar was writing on the back of his own placemat:
I looked at his creation and simply smiled.
Oscar said–just a tad defensively–“I guess after three days of camp, I kind of miss him.”
Oscar was nowhere near as thrilled as I had thought he would be about having lunch without Edgar, and I couldn’t be more thrilled at being wrong.
Oscar and Edgar have been working diligently on summer packets with me. Nothing too daunting or time-consuming, I assure you–just enough to keep their skills sharp, maybe introduce a few new ones, and add a little structure to our predominantly lazy summer days.
Last week one of Edgar’s tasks was to draw a line from a capital letter to its lowercase counterpart. Simple enough task. Certainly one he could handle.
Here is his work:
It looks at first glance arbitrary and completed without care. But a second look reveals that every response is correct.
The directions said to draw a line . . . nothing about its being straight or direct.
This work calls attention to itself but could be interpreted as a whimsical response to an otherwise staid task.
And then I realized that this is him–in every way–and that there was no other way for him to do it.
The next twelve years are going to challenge this boy who is not content to take the shortest distance between two points; but I can promise we will be by his side–to help him navigate and learn to channel, to champion him, to preserve that which makes him stand out.
People like Edgar have the power to change the world. And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I weren’t more like him.
Last night as I tucked Edgar into bed far later than usual, he picked up one of his favorite stuffed animals–one that you would have thought had been waiting all evening for this opportunity to talk–and assumed a voice befitting the creature. The stuffed animal asked me, “Do you know Edgar?” I replied that I did–and very well. The stuffed animal then inquired, “What can you tell me about him?” As I regaled the stuffed animal (and a beaming Edgar) with his most endearing qualities, the stuffed animal then asked, “Why are some things so hard for Edgar?”
I tried to explain–to the stuffed animal, of course–that Edgar has had more challenges in just six years of life than some people have in an entire lifetime, that the medicine he has to take–not to mention epilepsy itself–affects him, and that his body does not always let him be at his best–but that the people who love him know him at his best and see his potential.
Edgar thought about this as the stuffed animal asked, “Can you always help Edgar be his best?”
Helping someone be his best–an earnest entreaty from a beautiful six-year-old boy whose body has seldom been his friend . . . an entreaty not just from this child to his mother but from everyone to everyone.
OSCAR: Mom, why are you crying?
ME: Dr. Tracy’s office just called. Edgar’s six-hour EEG was completely normal.
OSCAR: Does that mean Edgar doesn’t have epilepsy any more?
ME: No, he still has epilepsy; but what this test showed is just how well his medication is working. It’s the best result we could have hoped for.
OSCAR: So now we can get rid of another medication?
ME: We’re going to start.
OSCAR: What if Edgar gets rid of all his medication and still doesn’t have seizures? Will that mean he doesn’t have it anymore?
ME: It could mean that. But we have to take one step at a time. All in all, this is pretty miraculous.
OSCAR: Yeah, I guess I always kind of knew Edgar was a miracle.