I married one of the Lema boys.
According to the stories from my husband and his parents, their boys were known for their smarts and their abilities on the soccer field.
Jose, my brother-in-law, took math classes beyond his grade-level and ruined bell curves in many of the classes he took. Chris went on to graduate from UC Berkeley and has been wildly successful in start-ups and now in public speaking.
These boys had access to Advanced Placement classes and Jose was even able to take some classes at UC Irvine as a high schooler. Even my nephews are smart and the oldest is finishing college early because of all the work he was able to accomplish while in high school.
But, that’s not me.
I grew up in normal classrooms and was never considered the head of the pack. I graduated high school in a rural farming town in which none of the students went straight to a UC. I went to a small, Christian private college that wasn’t accredited until just after I graduated.
I never took an AP class. I didn’t even apply to a UC college. And I certainly was never included in a “gifted and talented” program.
I always say my kids’ apples didn’t fall far from their daddy’s tree. Both of them resemble him and both take after him academically, and if you’ve ever heard Emily give a speech, she sounds just like him!
These kids are mine too.
Have you ever read the book Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss? If you haven’t, or can’t remember the story, let me remind you.
Horton, an elephant, meets a flighty bird who has just laid an egg. She is sitting on this egg waiting for it to hatch, but she is bored and really wants to have a break. She convinces Horton the take over the incubation process while she takes a short rest.
That great big elephant climbs up on that nest and settles in for what he believes will be a short time. What he doesn’t know at the time is that the bird isn’t coming back.
Horton sits and sits, and never gives up. He is loyal to the little egg and despite adverse weather, teasing, and hunters, he refuses to move. He is even transplanted, tree, nest and all and ends up in a traveling circus of sorts. But Horton perseveres. Over and over he states, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one hundred percent.”
In the end, the bird happens upon Horton, sitting on the egg in the midsts of a circus tent. She decides she wants her egg back and Horton isn’t so sure that’s a great idea. After all, she had abandoned this little egg. Right at that moment the egg cracks open and everyone is surprised to see that an elephant-bird emerges from the shell. This creature is more than half elephant because of the influence of Horton.
Horton is a proud parent!
I am the Horton character in my kids’ lives.
I may not look like them and they may get their intelligence from my husband’s family. I say “may” because Chris regularly says they get more than half of it from me too. Regardless, in the end, they are mine too.
So whether they get their “giftedness” from their dad’s family or not, what I know is a mom says what she means and means what she says. And as a result, these kids are influenced and changed as much by me as they’ve been by their father.
I write this post for you, but also, in reality, for me. As a way to tell my story – to myself. To remind me of the critical role I play in their lives.
Are you a Horton too?