Gavin's guitarMy seventeen-year-old son eked out passing grades and has finished his junior year of high school. Yesterday he started a summer-session welding program at the local applied technology college. He’s actually excited, dare I say happy? They told him at orientation that he can make $62,000 a year starting out with a certificate in welding. Face shining, he told us the good news then added, “See? I told you I would have a Lamborghini!” Ah, youth. Wait until he gets his first electric bill. But I digress.

His first love is woodworking. He made the guitar pictured in the photo above during Wood Shop last semester. I asked him to take Auto Mechanics last year and to try welding to see if he likes it. Obviously he’s quite good with his hands. At the first counselor’s office when he was only eight, Gavin put together Lego projects that blew the other eight-year-old kids’ cars and boats out of the water. We knew then that he had a talent for building and hand-to-eye coordination. Woodworking is great, but I’m thinking people don’t buy new cabinets when they’re broke. People always need their cars fixed and they always need welders. Love the woodworking, but maybe as an avocation.

I think we might be in the home stretch. Gavin turns eighteen in September, and with nine years of work on my husband’s part, Gavin may just get his Eagle Scout before his birthday. Next year he’s a senior in high school and only has to take Wood Shop, Auto Mechanics, Welding, English, and a one-semester Government class. No more science; no more math. I think even Gavin can handle the stress of that schedule.

With his part-time job at the grocery store going well, and excitement about his future as a welder (or an auto mechanic or a carpenter), Gavin is looking suspiciously like a motivated and enthusiastic young man. I asked my husband yesterday if we were being unrealistic having so much hope for Gavin or was this what it was all for? Have we really helped this kid to get his bearings, grow up a little, learn to manage the trauma in his past, develop into a pretty nice young man, attach to us (at least moderately),  identify a potential career path, and develop some character? We dared to hope some more.

Then…I’m sure more as a reality check for all of us than for anything else, Gavin lost one of his welding gloves that we bought him yesterday. He had both of them at three o’clock yesterday afternoon, can’t find one tonight. I even gave him a nice gym bag to keep his gloves, helmet, coat, and safety goggles in. Did he? Nope. All five of us turned the house, garage, and trash upside down looking for that second glove. No luck. We told Gavin we had paid for every piece of equipment the first time, but he’s responsible for any replacement items. His bag is now packed sans gloves but with ten dollars to buy another pair of gloves tomorrow.

Maybe it’s better not to get too giddy yet.

Photo credit: Donna Voss