Let’s talk about Brian.


I know most families of a certain size have one of these… the child that you know without a doubt IS yours, but you wonder exactly how he ended up in your family?  KWIM?

These photos from the snow in January best illustrate my point. 

I went outside to brush some of the snow off my van before it turned into solid ice… I wasn’t going to go anywhere, but just in case…

Brian saw me out the kitchen window, and knocked on it to get my attention.  “NO, NO”  I could see him saying, and shaking his finger at me.  My eleven year old, reprimanding me.  Go figure… He yelled through the window to come in, that he would go out right away and clean off my car.

Always one to make sure to catch a child in action doing a good deed, I watched him work through the window over the sink.  When I first looked at these photos in the back of my camera, I thought they looked amazingly like white water rafting pictures…

Then I realized what he was wearing.  Or actually, NOT wearing.

Speaking of wearing, I need to tell you about Brian’s class in school-school. 

As we were deciding where to put everybody in school this year, Brian made it very clear that he wanted to apply for the Horizons program at Randolph Middle School.  Dixon and I actively discouraged it.  Horizons is a mostly self-contained, multi-age classroom for highly to profoundly gifted kids whose academic needs can’t be met in the regular gifted programs… We didn’t want Brian to apply because we were confident that being turned down would crush his self esteem. 

So we took a giant step backwards and stayed out of his way.  He did the research about the program, he found and filled out the applications, he put together a gorgeous portfolio of his work, and went for his interviews.  About all we did was pay for the IQ testing.   

When he want for his interview (Oh, I guess I did do one more thing..,. I drove him to his interview…) he had to write a personal statement.  The interviewer told me afterwards that he’s such a classic middle child… in his first sentence he described himself as always diligent and kind to everyone…  (yep, that sounds like my Brian 🙂

Well, to make a long story short, he was offered a spot and is doing great.  It’s the NEATEST class.  Imagine, if you will, the best elementary Montessori classroom you can think of, where children are doing REAL learning, individually and collectively, challenged every minute… and translate that to the academic rigors of a group of highly gifted middle schoolers.  Then make sure that learning is still multi-sensory and passion-driven.  It’s an amazing class with an amazing teacher.  Brian here, in these photos above, is sewing a costume for a research presentation he’s going to do next week.  All year he’s been deeply investigating Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.  Next week he’s going to be dressed in authentic-looking clothes of a late 19th century peasant as he presents the latest portion of his work.    And this is ALL HIS WORK… other than giving him some clues about grain line… Because his class values personal creative effort, moms aren’t stuck staying up late doing sixth grade homework.  I’ve talked to enough friends whose children go to school-school in traditional programs, and they seem to spend a LOT of time doing their children’s projects.

And then there’s soccer.  Here’s where the “Could this person possibly be OUR CHILD???” comes from.  Just last weekend, he was a guest player on another team playing out of state… I sent my baby in a van with a family I didn’t even know, and he came back late Sunday night with a championship medal.

He LIVES to play outside, with a soccer ball.  All the time. Extra practice, no problem.  Agility session, he wants to be there.  Guest for another team, he’s packed and ready to go. 

Brian drew this self portrait for me last year… It hangs on the side of the fridge by the coffee maker.  I can’t decide whether the various design facets are representative of portions of his personality, or if I should just enjoy it as art…

And now he’s twelve.  A GOOD twelve.  Ready to run out in his boxers to make sure mama doesn’t have to get the snow off the van.  Intensely cutting and sewing an ottoman empire peasant costume after hours of deep resarch to make it as authentic as possible.  Continuing to progress up the ranks of his soccer club… preparing to compete in Nationals for chess in only a month…

Happy Birthday, Brian.  Even if I’m not entirely sure how you came to be a part of our family, I am ever so grateful that you’re mine. 

I love you with all my heart, and what I love most ABOUT you is that you love everyone else with all your heart, too.  You have a good soul, Brian, and I’m proud of you.

14 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Brian.

  1. Thanks for letting this part of the world know about one really neat kid. Please give him a hug for his proud grandparents.

  2. That is what I love about your parenting…you trust them to be who they “are”…five beautiful, creative children!
    (Plus wonderful “grandparenting”, too!)

    The “what he’s not wearing” doesn’t surprise me…he definitley likes living in the momently, plus do you realize how fast you have to be to actually STOP you from doing something? Good job, Brian!

    Happy Birthday, Brian!

  3. Happy Birthday, Brian! What wonderful praise from your Mom and how multi-talented you are. I do know that your Nana must be bursting her buttons with pride that a grandchild is sewing! Please have your Mom show us a photo of you in your completed costume as some of us would love to see the end result of your research and hard work!

    I don’t understand why your Mom is so surprised that you are athletic. I have heard rumor that your father was/is too, so what’s there to be so surprised about? Maybe your Mom forgot that about your Dad or she really didn’t think it through that this is a developed skill as well – tee hee!

    Elizabeth, as usual your photos and story are exceptional about an exceptional child. You and Dixon are certainly doing an amazing job in raising your children to explore and grow in ways that interest each of them. What a wonderful family you have created and share with all of us.

  4. Dear Brian, Happy Birthday. You are an absolutely wonderful 12 year old. You followed your dream to attend the school for the highly gifted; obviously, you belong there. Middle child you are, but you handle that family position with such an open heart. I didn’t need to see the post from your Papa to know how proud your grandparents are of you, your sibs, and your cousins. Their eyes light up when they talk about each of you. Congrats on the soccer championship. You are an young man with many gifts. Nancy

  5. I love the photos. Happy Birthday. The above comment about Dixon being an athlete is correct. Can you post the photo of Dixon jumping over a crack in the ice field where he is mountain climbing?

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