Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Go see a good man who steps up.

Don Gwinn is a superior man. I've known him for roughly the same amount of time as LawDog has, though Don and I have never met in person.

I'm going to tell on Don, without his permission. It's an invasion of his privacy, and he's welcome to tell me to delete it. Which I may take under advisement, but probably will not do.

When a distant family member was having enormous character and personal problems involving various dependencies, she had to give up her boys. Because of the unfortunate manner in which they had been "reared" prior to that, they were challenged. If memory serves, they were 5 and 3.5 years of age at the time, but I'm probably off by a year one way or the other. One of the boys had a handicap, and both of the poor boys required a great deal of effort. Don and his wife never hesitated to take these boys in, and make them their own.

Both Don and his wife Missy are educators, and take their craft seriously. Both are working on (or have obtained) graduate degrees in education, and want to teach kids. They applied this love and skill at home. The boys quickly assimilated, and they made enormous strides, overcoming completely understandable developmental issues. As soon as they could, Don and his wife adopted the boys, making them a complete, loving family.

Don once wrote that his favorite birthday was one in which he piddled around the house with the wife and kids, watched a DVD with them, and just basked in the warm glow of his family. This man was meant to be a daddy. He and Missy recently expanded that family by one more, the old fashioned way.

Don is an amateur blacksmith, and makes his own knives. He is a shotist in a part of this nation that doesn't much support the right to keep and bear arms. He is a devotee to human rights (freedom of speech, right to assembly, gay rights, whatever-- not just 2nd Amendment stuff), and doesn't especially feel the need to apologize to those who don't understand his politics. He is fond of the written word, and has crafted more than few poems. For whatever reason, he drives an ambulance as a side gig. He's a bicyclist, having taken it upon himself to improve his health though biking regularly. If I recall correctly, he's dropped over a hundred pounds through his own self-directed regimen of excercise. Oh. And here's another thing about him-- he's funny as hell.

In short, Don Gwinn, a man I've never met in the flesh, is a Good Man. And if he doesn't mind, I'm proud to call him my friend. I look up to him in a lot of ways. Like my friend John Shirley, Don is a Hero of mine. I don't have many.

Go check him out at his new blog, "The Armed Schoolteacher."

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3 Comments:

At Sunday, June 10, 2007 7:27:00 AM, Blogger Don Gwinn said...

Aw, shucks, Matt. You got the important parts right (I am, indeed, hilarious.)

"The boys" are twins, and they were actually six years old when they got to us. I first wrote that they're turning 11 next week, but time flies--that's this week.

They and Sean (who's three months now if you can believe that--he giggles now) will appear in the blog from time to time, I'm sure.

But really, seriously now, I don't think most people would have sent those kids packing. They needed parents, and we had a house and no kids. Besides, they were a lot cuter then.
Everybody who has kids has their trials. Your kids are great, but I bet they've given you some extra gray hairs even though you didn't have to step up and be somebody's hero, right? They're all kids. They all have issues, they all make you proud, and they all break your heart, but that's OK. You didn't have to deal with some of the issues we have, but we didn't have to change diapers or potty train, either.

As wonderful as Sean (the new one) is, that's the hardest part. The boys are self-aware enough now to notice that a lot of the things we do with Sean look like the family therapy we did with them--because nobody had ever done things like peek-a-boo and looking into their eyes while they were being fed. They see everyone taking photos of Sean, when they have one or two 3x5's of their "mother" holding them. They know they missed a lot, and that's enough to break your heart.
But they've both stepped up, to borrow a phrase. They both hold Sean every day now. They both feed him. That was a huge step for Donovan, who doesn't really understand how to relate to people yet anyway. They're doing a great job.

Now if I can step up and finish the poor kid's bedroom, I'll be MY hero.

 
At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:58:00 PM, Blogger jrshirley said...

Coincidentally, Don's a hero of mine, as well.

 
At Thursday, June 14, 2007 7:42:00 PM, Blogger Don Gwinn said...

John is certain that one of us dropped everything and joined the Army after 9/11, then went back when they called after he left (and enrolled in graduate school) and jetted off for a vacation on a remote base on a mountaintop in Afghanistan.

But sometimes he forgets which one it was.

 

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