The journey

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.

Never lost his sense of humour – sticking his tongue out at me!

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?

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34 Responses to The journey

  1. zannyro says:

    Oh Sniffle, sniffle….sniff….you have every right to be EXTREMELY proud…what a wonderful young man and handsome too! I got a little palpitation reading about the rough patches and I’m so happy that everything has turned out so well! My thoughts and prayers to you today…xoxoxoxoxo

    • Oh Suzanne, your comments mean so much to me. It’s so nice to have the support of my fellow bloggers who always seem to understand me!! By the way, after we left him at his residence and I had stopped crying (well, the first bout of crying anyway), guess what I made Mike stop to buy?? Why, chocolate of course :).

  2. What a wonderful post Cindy. Bryan sounds like a wonderful young man.

  3. dorannrule says:

    O.k., now I understand why today is so emotional for you. Bryan is definitely special and so is his family for nurturing the best in him. You are letting him spread his wings once more. This is a wonderful tribute to a talented, determined, wonderful young man… a wonderful post Cindy.

  4. (hugs) you and I have much more in common than you know – someday I will tell you about it – right now the important thing for you is not to deny how you feel — darn it, it is going to be hard, but you are going to cope and soon cope well. thinking of you — and the brave new world Bryan is entering — it should be nothing for him after what he has been through!

    • Yes, he has definitely been through a lot, and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s so hard for me because I have always been near him if something happened and he had a seizure. Now I will be worried that he will forget to take his medicine or that he will get overtired (which is one of his triggers). He’s really responsible though and he’s not interested in the college party scene at all, so I really don’t have anything to worry about. I know he has a good head on his shoulders!! Your understanding has meant a great deal to me over the last few days. Thank you, and I would love to hear the thing we have in common some day :).

      • you son has ongoing trials – both of my sons were born very prematurely – one was 2 pounds 5 1/2 ounces and the other 3 lbs 5 ounces at 29 and 31 weeks–so they were both in the hospital at birth for a long time. Today though they are both healthy young men in their 20’s and I do not have your worries — but I do understand some of them to a point. I am glad your son has a good head on his shoulders — that has to be great comfort to you — but it is still hard the first year away with all your unanswered concerns–we will be brave for each other–the fact that he has a girlfriend and someone on his side close by might help a little — let us keep each other company through this
        my concerns for my son this year are different than other years as he does not seem to have a very positive attitude about his course work – he is very unsatisfied with what he chose to go into — so we are just going to have to muddle through – a mother;s work is always ongoing — I have to be his biggest cheerleader and know when to cheer him on and when to be a little bit pushy (which I am not good at) Oh well – what will be will be as Doris sang – 🙂

      • Wow, your boys were just little wee babes! It is so wonderful that they have grown into healthy men with no lasting negative effects. I always love hearing about happy endings :). And yes, it does make me happy that his girlfriend is nearby, although I hope that doesn’t distract him from his studies (wink, wink :)).

        I’m so glad that I met you on here because it really is nice to talk to someone who is going through the same thing and therefore understands my concerns and worries. We will definitely be brave for each other. I know what you are saying about cheering and pushing. Everyone has been telling me to cut the apron strings, but there are times when they still need to be guided, and I think that’s part of our job, even at this age! I’m sure everything will work out with your son’s courses. Can he go to talk to someone about it – like in the counselling department or something, or the Registrar’s office? Maybe they could help him with ideas.

  5. Jonesingafter40 says:

    What a bittersweet day for you… the mother in me aches for you as you send your son out into the world. Sniff sniff.

    • I keep telling my son that all mothers are made the same, and it’s very hard for us to let our children go out into the world. For so many years we are the centre of their universe, and then all of a sudden it seems like they don’t need us anymore. I know that means that we did a good job, but it’s still hard. Thank you so much :).

  6. sayvan says:

    What a wonderful post Cindy….Mom’s are crazy aren’t they! Wishing him the best as he heads off into a new chapter and life experience… reading through your post, I was also thinking how lucky we are to live in a country where health care is a right and not so much a worry… we need to protect it and keep it as public as possible!

    • Oh, you are so right!! I can’t even imagine what it would have been like going through what we did with Bryan without our health care system. That was one aspect that we never, ever had to worry about. Every visit to the hospital and every test that he had was fully covered. Although I often say I would love to live in a warmer climate, I could never leave this country!! It’s my home, and I am thankful that I live here!

  7. dafarmer says:

    Cindy what a tough way for your little guy, or rather not so little anymore to come into this world. I know what you went through as far as the trouble of bringing your son into the world. My son was delivered at 33 weeks gestation and we were in the NICU for a bit. It is hard to let go and it is even harder to realize everything you went through as a family. But I can see the love for son has for you, he’ll still call you and come home most breaks. Keep your chin up Mama!!

    • Thank you so much Dina :). I will never ever forget those difficult days after he was born, and I think they gave me an extra special bond with him that is what made it extra hard to let go. I’m sure you understand what I mean having gone through a similar experience yourself. We have talked to him a couple of times on the phone since we dropped him off and have texted back and forth, and he is being very patient. I think he secretly enjoys hearing from us!!

  8. bulldogsturf says:

    What a lovely rendition of a Mothers love… God be with your son and watch how well he does… hard for you… but by the sounds of it a close relationship between you two… Mothers and Sons never loose that bond… what a lovely blog even had me swallowing a couple of times… beautiful…

  9. TBM says:

    I know it will be rough on you, but all of you have so much to celebrate. I wish him well on his journey and if you need some cheering up, head on over to London. I know some good pubs.

    • LOL!!! It’s funny you should say that about the pubs. When we got home yesterday I was really tempted to get into the bottle of vodka that was staring at me from the shelf, and I don’t even drink that stuff! I was already in the middle of a bad allergy attack though (happy September!!), so I figured I’d better not because I would probably just feel worse :). You are right though. We do have a lot to celebrate, and we are very proud of him! Thanks TBM. I really appreciate your comment!!

  10. Tammy says:

    What a proud momma you are!

  11. Emily Gooch says:

    You should be proud! For both yourself and Bryan. He wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for all your hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to be the best parent. 😀

  12. benzeknees says:

    What a wonderful remembrance of your son’s life so far. It sounds like it has been quite an adventure! Hopefully there are many more adventures to come. I’m sure they will be rich with memories & new perspectives as your son grows into the wonderful man you brought him up to be!

    • It has been quite an adventure of good and bad, but the good has definitely outweighed the bad! Both my boys make me smile every day, and I love them with all of my heart. I always wanted to be a mom, and I knew that some things would be hard, but it’s all so very worth it in the end :). Thanks for your wonderful comment!!

  13. zelmare says:

    Cindy…you’ve gone and made me cry now. I know exactly how you feel, since I’ve been through that thrice already, but hats off to your boy for reaching this goal despite his rough start. He was such a bonny baby! And a gorgeous young adult. You have every right to be immensely proud, and I’m sure he understands your emotions. Good luck to you both (and dad, of course!) on this new phase of life. :0

    • Ohhh, I’m sorry I made you cry! He was a beautiful baby though wasn’t he? But then I guess I’m kind of prejudiced LOL!! He has been very understanding and patient over the last couple of days about our emotions for which I am very thankful. He’s a very sensitive guy himself, so I think that really helps him to understand where we are coming from. Thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement. It means so much to me :).

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