I have been struggling a lot with my emotions lately as you all know from following my blog. Today is the day that my oldest son, Bryan, goes off to college, and I know it’s going to be a very difficult day for me, but also a very proud one. I know that most parents find it hard to kick their children out of the nest and let them fly on their own, and it’s not like I’m the only one to have ever gone through this, but Bryan’s situation is a little different, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever fully explained to you why.
You see, Bryan had quite a rough start in this world. He was taken from me by emergency c-section 3 weeks early and within a day of his birth was having seizures down one side of his body as a result of being hypoglycaemic. He was in hospital for 10 days, and it was hands down the scariest time of my life. He was poked and prodded and had tubes and wires coming out of pretty much every part of his body. They even put an IV in his head at one point!! This photo was way before digital photography and the quality is terrible, but it will give you an idea of what I faced when I walked into the nursery:
Eventually he was stabilized, and we were sent home with the assurance that there would be no lasting effects from his ordeal, and he seemed to be a very happy and healthy baby. He brought sunshine into our lives and constantly made us laugh and smile.
However, throughout his early years we noticed that he often acted funny if he wasn’t feeling well and at 18 months he had a fever convulsion. When I finally talked to the pediatrician when Bryan was around 4 years old about our observations, he wouldn’t take me seriously, so I asked to be referred to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. That was the best move we ever made! Unfortunately, poor Bryan had to endure test after test including blood tests, EEG’s, CT scans, and MRI’s, and for quite a while I had to control my paranoia because I was sure that they were going to find a brain tumour, but in the end they found a scar on the brain which has caused him to be epileptic. His seizures are very mild compared to what some people live with, but it is still a horrible thing for parents to watch let me tell you. It broke my heart every time! Bryan’s seizures are now controlled by medication, and he knows what triggers he has to watch out for. Every few years he still has to go through testing, but he is really lucky because it could be a lot worse.
One of the reasons that today means so much to me is because epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain, and as a result it can often be accompanied by learning disabilities. We were so very fortunate that this was not the case for Bryan. We brought him up to be open about his epilepsy and to not let it stop him from doing anything. He always excelled in school, winning public speaking contests and science fairs, and he played basketball, baseball and took taekwondo. Nothing was going to stop this kid! In the last few years the list of accomplishments and experiences has grown even longer with Bryan obtaining his driver’s licence (which we often wondered if he would be able to get), graduating from high school, and travelling twice to Europe, including a trip to the Netherlands to take part in the celebrations for the 65th anniversary of VE Day.
And now here he is accepted to college and moving out on his own. I am so proud of what he has overcome and accomplished that I could just burst. What a journey he has had so far and what an amazing journey he has ahead of him now.
Bryan, I love you from the bottom of my heart, and even though you remind me every day that you are no longer a baby, you will always be my little peanut no matter what. You have made us proud beyond belief, and you mean the world to us. Good luck baby! And please remember that it’s hard for me to let go, so be patient with your crazy old mom ok?