IntrepidWoman's Journey

Dean’s Birthday

Posted on: October 12, 2011

Dean is my youngest son. He was born during the final stages of an unhappy marriage. It was a short pregnancy in which I painted the entire house resulting in a six-week premature delivery. I was to have my third C-section, but it was scheduled for much later, so I drove myself in labour to the hospital early in the morning on October 10th, all by myself. . .  feeling like an unwed mother. I remember crying as I drove because I already had 2 children, so how could I feel like this? My husband was somewhere out of the country on a business trip at the time, and I had already decided to leave the marriage. Two days later after unsuccessfully trying to stop labor, doctors did an emergency C-section and Dean was born on October 12, 1974.

Dean was a wonder, right from the beginning. He looked totally different from the other two and was half their size. Healthy and ready to go home in a few days, we began our life together.  I waited a year and then moved with my three sons to a life of single parenthood.

From the time he was very young, Dean was always happy and always positive. He found the good in everything and his humour and mischievousness made for many stories that I cannot share here to protect the guilty. He teased his way through school and relationships with his brothers and his teachers.

He was in my art class in high school because I was the only art teacher in our small town. One day he announced that the assignment was dumb. The class held their collective breath as I ushered him outside to the hall to continue the conversation. He was adamant that the assignment was dumb and that he did not want to do it. I told him he had to do it if he wanted marks as it was curriculum-based and the choice was his. He was so good in art that I did give him a ‘B’, even though he did not complete some of my assignments. He created some great pieces on his own though.

For years afterwards he would say, “I should have gotten an ‘A’ in art,” and I always responded with “No. You did not follow the assignments.”  Finally, years later, I realized he was right. He was so advanced that I should have put him on his own program and just let him work independently. He had drawn and created from the time he could hold a pencil.

Back in grade 3, he sat at the kitchen table with friends and they each completed a project on Eskimos. The teacher gave the other two ‘A’s and Dean a ‘C’. When I questioned her on this because his project was far superior to theirs, she said I had done it. This was before I was a teacher and I did not realize that I should have gone over her head to the principal to complain because I had not touched his project. He never wanted help. She would not believe me and would not change his mark.

I had let him down both times.

Then there was kindergarten graduation. Dean was in his cap and gown and photos were being taken. He was fooling around of course and I said, “Dean, behave and get your photo taken. This will probably be the only graduation you will ever have!”  Years later in high school, when his English teacher would stop me in the hall and complain about him, I still wondered if it might be true. I remember telling her to do what she had to do. Just because I worked there, she should not corner me and complain. That night, Dean said, “I know. I know. The only one who is going to get hurt is me.” I replied, “As long as you realize that…” and the conversation was over. Dean continued to stand outside her door, waiting to go in after the bell rang and she continued to lock him out. He happily walked away.

Well, Dean is a man now. He has several university degrees including an MBA and works for an investment bank in Hong Kong. He still likes to tease, but he has a very serious side to him now that he is an adult. I think life has done that to him.

Today is his birthday, and for me, it is a day to relive the joy of that wee boy as he was growing up and keeping us all moving along life’s bumpy road with his wit and humour and wisdom. He is a good son and I am very proud of the man he has become. I admire him more every day of his adult life as I watch his travels around the world and all his wonderful accomplishments. Happy Birthday Dean.

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