My oldest son, Christian, has never done anything the conventional way.
At five years old, it was cute.
In middle school, it was heartbreaking seeing the damage done by a teacher who belittled him because he wasn't a cookie-cutter, academic kid.
In high school it was rebellion for him and big worries for us.
There was no college other than a year of fashion design that Covid interrupted. After that, no more school. And not much of a plan.
We watched Christian try to figure out his life while his we tried to treat him like the independent adult he wanted to be but wasn't yet. It was crushing to get calls from him, wondering how to make ends meet, and to give him only advice instead of rescuing him with money. All of us did the best we could and failed here and there
But I kept praying and he kept persevering, making things work, and taking every opportunity he could, including consigning a small space in a shop where he sold collectibles he loved. It was his dream job.
And now, that dream job has turned into a store of his own.
In less than a week, he transformed an abandoned, junk-filled space to one of showcases filled with Pokemon and other cards and collectibles. But most of all, Christian wants to make this a place of community and belonging where kids can play video games and learn card games, where tournaments happen and serious collectors can find what they haven't elsewhere.
I don't think any of us could have imagined this a year before. Christian and I both believe God led him here. I could not be more grateful. Or proud. I think he feels the same.
For you parents whose kids who walk to a different beat, I know it can be really hard and scary sometimes. But pray for them every day. Stay close to them emotionally. Let them take responsibility for their lives. And let them know you're there and that you believe they will find their own path, no matter how different it is from the one you might have imagined. Because sometimes, their imaginings are so much better than ours.