I am feeling compelled to share this layout with you today. As you can see from the date on the layout, the photo was taken in 2008. Seven years ago. Ian was 8 years old then. He was a deep thinker with a curious, creative mind. That all changed three years later.
In 2011, Ian suffered a concussion so severe that his whole life changed. Over the course of that year, he was forced to give up baseball- a sport he not only loved but was exceptionally good at doing. He couldn't skateboard or ride a bike; heck, he couldn't even run.
He missed a lot of school, a fact that caused him awful emotional pain. You see, he was the new kid, and if you've ever been the new kid, you'll understand how difficult it was for him to fit in and make friends. Now, he was the new kid who missed more school than he attended. Making friends in this situation was nearly impossible. This continued for three more years. In that time, he developed a brain tumor.
Now, my not-so-little-anymore boy is in 10th grade. He has a couple of friends, but unfortunately, he struggles every single day. Kids are not accepting. They are cruel. They push him into lockers, throw things at him in class, steal his gym clothes, and call him names. My once vivacious and adventurous son is sad and withdrawn and angry.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything okay for my son, but I can't. I can love him and let him know that I'm here for him. I can be his advocate. But I can't take away the isolation and sadness. The pain of that knowledge is suffocating.