I am tidying up the living room, picking up all manner of the day’s accumulated clutter. Everything from discarded socks to scattered books to music paraphernalia. Including a violin case. And when I pick it up, I see the “note to self” that Colton has stuck to its side.

This is my sweet second son. The one to whom some things come so easily. And to whom some things are so difficult. It is a miracle this child learned to read. And now he is my voracious, can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-until-the-wee-hours-finishing-that-book boy.

I remember the struggle. He would try so hard and he wanted it so badly. And finally, with the help of a specialist, he got it. The gift of reading.

But the challenges he deals with show up every day in all kinds of ways. Math is a chore. Fractions, telling time, abstract concepts – its like a tornado of swirling, barely understandable numbers. Things that are in his brain one day are lost the next. Items that are in his hand one minute are lost the next.

His brain works differently than most brains work. He has to work harder than most people have to work.

But this unique brain of Colton’s is also why he is so creative and artistic. He sees the world from a special, gifted viewpoint. He loves beauty and nature in an intense and committed way. He is passionate about the things he loves, his art and his pets and his books.  He loves to learn, whether it is history or botany or archaeology. He is a devoted National Geographic reader. His Christmas list includes such items as books on medieval weaponry.

Colton understands what it means to work harder, to try again, to wake up in the morning and give it another shot. He’s had to learn it.

Which is why his little don’t give up note touched me so deeply. Because he doesn’t.

What a teacher he is.