Rants, reality and learning to embrace the little things.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Kid that Started it All

Nolan. I could write a book on this child. What an unexpected bundle of joy this boy has been.

A little back story:

I met Nolan's dad, Kevin, while working at Old Navy in Franklin, TN in October of 1999. I had only lived in Franklin about 7 months and was absolutely miserable, missing all of my friends from my old high school in Louisiana. Kevin had recently moved from Washington state and was dealing with the same homesick misery as me. It was love at first sight...for me anyways. I will never forget how completely, utterly, and madly head over heels in love I fell with him. I wanted to give him anything and everything, and in a sense I did.

Fast forward a few months and picture two terrified teens finding out they are going to be parents. I was barely 16, still sporting braces and a baby face. Kevin had just began his freshman year of college. We were sure our lives were over. However, thanks to my uncanny ability to be optimistic in the face of sure disaster, I quickly became positive that everything was going to be okay because I loved Kevin and that was all that mattered. I toyed briefly with the idea of adopting the baby out but knew that I could never get rid of my child. Especially the child I was having with the man I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Nine months of morning sickness, uncertainty, and tears flew by. On October 27 of 2000, a short year after Kevin and I had met, Nolan Thomas Conklin was born. I'll never forget the first time I held him. It was if the world had stopped and everything had just fallen into place. I was holding my reason for living.

It was evident early on that Nolan was a bright child. There was something more to him than the special circumstances he came into the world with. It was as if you could see his mind working constantly as he grew. Once he learned to talk, he never stopped. He knew how to engage those around him and was more than a child, he was a little man. Ask any of my family members and they will tell you. Nolan amazed us all on a daily basis.

It was no surprise that when Nolan started school, he excelled at his lessons and learning came very easily to him. Although, in TN, it is recommended that a student not test for giftedness until the third grade, Nolan's teachers recommend we go ahead and test him a year early. He passed with flying colors and became recognized by the state as a gifted child. Kevin, my family and I were thrilled, although we had kind of expected it. Nolan continues to amaze his teachers and make his parents very proud.

My wittiest child, Nolan can find humor in any situation...unless he dubs the situation a disaster or "the worst day ever", which has been known to happen. Typically, however, you will find him cracking jokes, making up silly songs, absorbing you in a mind boggling argument (the kind that makes you stop and go "Why am I arguing with a ten year old? How did this happen?") and of course, picking on his brothers. The way his mind works fascinates me. He can challenge and engage me better than any adult I know.

Nolan is definitely the most emotional of my three children so when Kevin and I told him that we were divorcing, I expected him to fall apart. While he did have his crying spells and was naturally very sad, he truly surprised me with his strength, maturity and understanding. He was always the first to hug me, tell me it would be okay and that he loved me. That boy has consistently gotten me through tough times since he was conceived. I don't think he will ever understand how grateful I am to have him as my son.

My precious Nolan, a friend to all, a beautiful picture of strength, and proof that God can turn any situation into something wonderful. I thank God for the mountains of blessings He has given me these past 10 years in Nolan and my other two amazing little boys.