Saturday night was one of those rare Florida chilly nights. Now I know those of you up north are thinking in your head “Yeah okay, chilly in Florida.” But the truth is we were in the lower 50’s in my area and in Florida that is chilly. In my mind there was nothing I wanted to do more than wrap myself up in my comforter and drift warmly off to sleep. However, Saturday night happened to be a big event for my son. The Orionid meteor shower was taking place and we could see it! He had been talking about it all day and so it was that instead of curling up in my bed I found myself up late into the night waiting for the meteors to begin.
I strive as a parent to feed my son’s inquisitive mind. I delicately feed him the works of other great minds that have come before him. I do experiments and yes, I wait up with him until God awful hours to wait for the meteors. It’s nothing more or less than I think any parent would do for their child. At nearly 3am we wrapped ourselves in blankets and headed out to the back patio to watch the scene. I was grumpy – I get that way when I’m tired – and I wanted nothing more than for him to see a few meteors and get inside. My little Galileo was standing there in his blue striped blanket and I saw it! You know what I saw, that look in his eyes that let you know you did something amazing for him. That twinkle, the sparkle if you will, of awe and I was hooked. I found myself marveling as the heavens unleashed their display and was amazed at how insignificant a falling rock can make you feel. In truth we didn’t see much. We saw one really amazing meteor streak across the sky, which got an excited scream out of him, and we saw five little ones that could have been nothing more than our eyes playing tricks on us. But in the end it was worth it, if for no other reason than I saw him wear his heart on his sleeve.
It got me to thinking about other mothers that have fed a gifted brain. You do what you have to do. I know that Einstein’s mother fed her child violin lessons to keep his frazzled brain focused. But it got me thinking what other mothers could have done to shape their child’s brain. What about Hawking? Was his brain nurtured even as his body withered? What in his past made him brilliant? It’s a focus and a drive to stretch their brains that sets these men of learning and genius apart. They don’t look at the world the same as we do. So I decided to read the history of these great men. Einstein is fact in our house and I think I know more about him than he probably knew, thanks to my son’s obsession. I went to the library and picked up a book about Galileo and am slowly starting to get through it. And then there is Da Vinci.
Da Vinci didn’t have a mother obsessed with broadening his brains. He was born illegitimately to a peasant woman and then raised by his paternal family. For Da Vinci it was an uncle that gave him that spark of genius. It was his uncle that helped to feed his young brain and help him to broaden his ideas of the world. I could fill several pages just on Da Vinci alone; he’s kind of my obsession. But in the end all the great minds share the same similar theme – someone in their life that sparked their curiosity. I don’t know what my son will become or if anyone outside our family will remember his gifted brain but I know that if I keep feed him. If I keep pushing his brain to expand in the end he will be a better man for it!