UPDATE: You may notice the photo is gone. Mr. Cool decided he didn’t want the picture up there because he doesn’t want anything to happen to me. Isn’t he the sweetest thing ever?

Fourteen years and a few months ago, I held a 7 lb., 8 oz. bundle of curiosity. From the first moments of his birth, he looked around, ready to discover his world. He didn’t cry. Crying took him away from his given purpose in life: to take in the world, its every intricacy, its every idiosyncrasy.

His childhood was magical. Learning by listening. By observing. The child had an uncanny ability to search out minutiae. His curiosity was boundless.

Learning came almost too easily. He couldn’t stand the repetition. He got it the first time. Then he would become bored. And leave his seat. Teachers said “test him, I think he has ADD, ADHD, blah-D-D.” We tested him, because we felt we had no choice. And because it’s always fun to spend hundreds of dollars to satisfy the school administration. Only to be told he’s perfectly fine. “He’s oppositional. He’s defiant.” No, ma’am. Sorry. He’s neither. He’s just tired of the crap. He’s tired of the labels you have placed on him and the bullseye you’ve affixed to his character. And he will succeed, despite your every attempt to see that he doesn’t. Ever hear of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It. Will. Not. Happen.

He graduated 8th grade near the top of his class. He gained admission to a national school of excellence. He has his whole life ahead of him. And he will succeed.

He has always had our love and support, and that will only grow in the years ahead. And he has his wonderful brain, which will become more fully developed and nourished.

Fourteen years ago I held him for the first time. Today I left him at high school for the first time.

Martin, we love you more than you’ll ever know. Until you have your own child, you can never know the love we feel for you. A friend once told me, just after having had his first child, “Now I know what it’s like to have someone you’d be willing to throw yourself in front of a bus for.” I hope you know how proud we are, and how much we believe in the incredible human being that you are. Go forward, and always remember what Thomas Edison said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Never give up.