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|Subject: A Little Bit on One of My Heros||Date: 7/11/2005 1:30 AM|
|Author: coyote97||Number: 48337 of 53863|
My little brother has just completed his last class to complete his BS degree from ASU, in computer graphic design (or somesuch thing). He did so nearly as quickly as I did.... he is 25 years old (for reference or our relation in age I am 34). Now, my long college career had many self inflicted troubles and detours.... mostly involving beer, lack of focus, and just general stupidity of youth.
Tim's path has been long and arduous for much more compelling challenges. My little brother has cerebral palsey. I have never heard him complain, and never heard him make excuses. But, in reality the kid has had more challenges in his life than I ever did. It would have been understandable to be a little bitter. But, his entire life, the kid has been a bundle of personality that all around him are fond of him.
What I have heard him say is how lucky he is when exposed to others with far more debilitating involvement of cerebral palsey. My little brother walks fine (noticably different), runs, drives, speaks completely normal. He overall, lives a "normal life". His biggest challenges are in fine motor skills. You take for granted the complex action of tying your shoes or cutting up a steak. He had the challenge of trying to write notes he could read in his classes. He has become a wiz with a keyboard and a mouse. He eventually took "shorthand" notes with his laptop in classes.
Tim grew up in our household an ordinary member of our family. I treated him like all of my other brothers. I teased him the same as them. Wrestled around with him like my other little brothers. He always played in the backyard football games still a common event at grandmas house now with my sons joining the big event.
Never really even thought of the kid being different day to day. But, he was different. He was different in the challenges he faced. And, he was different in the outlook he maintained in facing those challenges.
I recall his young childhood struggling to walk (he didn't walk until he was three), ride a bike. I recall the numerous knots on the head falling down on the sidewalk stiff as a board unable to reflex his head up on the way down. But what I recall most clearly is the ear to ear grin the kid always had. I recall that when we picked Tim up at school everybody said hi to Tim. Everybody knew him, everybody liked him. Nobody dared mess with him as he had a couple of friends that looked out for him. I recall the hours Mom and Dad spent at the kitchen table with Tim working on homework. Imagine the challenge of grade school "cutesy projects" when a kid can barely operate scissors, can't draw straight lines, and struggles with most anything involved. I recall the poor troubled kid always wearing a Chicago Cubs hat. I had plenty of fun with the tortured existence of a Cubs fan in our household.
I also recall.... when it wasn't so good. When Tim reached puberty, it hit him pretty hard. His friends started to develop and get athletic frames. They played sports and the like. This would be the one period of Tim's life so far that it got the best of him. He suffered a bout with depression, found plenty of trouble, and stretched my parents patience to the breaking point.
He did get through it. It took him five years to get through high school. He graduated and went on to community college. Shortly, before graduation, the old Tim started to emerge. The transformation continued in college. He spent three years at the community college taking general studies courses. The trouble making stopped. The smile returned. And Tim, put his nose to the grindstone and became a student.
Upon transfering to ASU, Tim moved out of my parents house and in with my sister who lived close to ASU. Mom and Dad had still been doing much to help him. Mom was usually dragging his butt out of bed mornings so he wasn't late for class. He found self sufficiency at sisters house. My brother in law was an excellent mentor to Tim over the last three years. He had a way of a gentle nudge for him to get his act togethor when he was slipping on meeting his obligations, budgeting his time and the like. What my sister and brother in law did for Tim, in providing a next step in independence, I will always be indebted to them for. They were very newly married and had lives of their own.
Well this summer he had one class left to get his degree.... a statistics class. Well, math has not been his strongsuit... and for some unknown reason the goofy kid signed up for an upper division