by Anniel 8/24/15
I’m still fascinated by those beautiful Late Bloomers, so I set out to find “Johnny”, and what had become of him. (ST “In Praise of Late Bloomers,” 8/15/15). It was an interesting search, reconnecting me with several far-flung acquaintances, before I found the answers from a friend practically in my own backyard.
The last time I heard or saw anything of Johnny he was still a quiet, frail, and shy boy who was ignored by everyone at school, including the teachers. I wondered if he had ever been happy, married, or found his own talents.
Following 4th Grade this is his story as far as I know it. He continued as a “misfit” until he became Boy Scout age and found one friend in his Troop who was a lot like him: thin, quiet, not athletic at all. The “bullying” started in Middle School, but the two boys had each other for a time and did everything together.
My source, who knew the family well, says that in Middle School Johnny also became a voracious reader and always had his nose in a book. His family moved away when he was in High School. After he graduated he decided to enlist in, of all things, the Coast Guard. He is stationed at a port on the Great Lakes. He is married and has two sons.
To tell you the truth, the Coast Guard is one of the last things I expected, perhaps because it sounds so physical to me. I’m not sure he ever became good at any sport, but I doubt it. I have no idea what he does in the Guard.
My next thoughts turned to my own children and what we, fairly or unfairly, had expected of them.
Did you know that the AVERAGE age when a child learns to walk is 13 months? Our eldest son walked at 13 months and 3 days old. I remember so well because I was timing contractions and thinking I would soon have two non-walking babies to haul around. The boy, who was sitting on what was left of my lap, turned and looked at me like he was reading my mind, slid to the floor and walked away. He also didn’t speak until he knew how. He was one of those kids who didn’t want to be seen in embarrassing circumstances so he waited until he was sure he knew what he was doing before acting. Academics were easy for him, which made him kind of a dork. I say that as a loving mother.
Our next child, a girl, refused utterly to try and crawl until she was 11 months old and didn’t walk at all until she was almost 18 months old. I knew someone who had 6-month-old twin girls who were up running all over the place. She asked me every time I saw her what was “wrong” with my daughter. Nothing, thank you, she’s just lazy. But she was within the average walking age. Just a “late bloomer.”
When the next boy in our flock was born I expected another “average” kid. At 9 months he was up tearing the house apart. Well, you can’t have everything. Our last boy and girl each also walked at 9 months, but were not into destruction as a way of life.
Our late blooming older daughter married her first boyfriend a few days after her 19th birthday. She said she “didn’t want to be lonely” anymore. I remember telling her she would just be lonely with a husband. But she didn’t listen. No matter what she did she thought she was slow and said she didn’t “get” math and stuff. In her mid-30’s, she decided to have another baby, because she knew she would finally have a girl. That decision added two more boys before her cherished girl. And she already had three older sons. At the same time she was having babies she went to school full-time to become a nurse. Now, at the age of 40, her three little ones are all in school, she works critical care in a Burn Center, and is trying to decide whether to get her PhD in Nursing or become a Doctor of Osteopathy.
Her math teacher, who is Chinese, told her that, with all her boys, in his country she would be a “Goddess.” I’m not sure about that, but when she decided to bloom, that’s exactly what she did, and she did it with straight A’s in math.
Remember that Albert Einstein (1879-1955) didn’t talk until he was 5. And remember also the famous painter Grandma Moses (1860-1961). She was 78 years old before she began painting seriously. No matter your age you can try something new to stretch your mind and spirit.
Are you by chance a Late Bloomer just waiting to happen? • (600 views)