Thursday, April 16, 2009

Twitter, Ashton, Hugh and Slash

I've joined up on twitter. I've kinda been holding off but then I saw the CNN article about Ashton Kutcher and CNN battling head to head for 1,000,000 followers. I figured what the heck and I created an account. Of course I went and added Ashton Kutcher to my watch. He has promised to donate mosquito nets to kids who need them that's incentive enough for me. Anything to do with kids is fantastic in my eyes.

Then I stumbled across Hugh Jackman who is offering to donate $100,000 to a charity of one person's choice they just have to sell it on twitter. I do so hope it goes to a children's charity.

So anyways I then decided to see if Saul Hudson was on Twitter since in many ways the man saved my son's life. That's Slash formerly of Guns and Roses for those who are wondering what I am talking about. Well he's there too. What's real cool is the fact he uploads images daily. My 14 year old son is in his glory right now. He's is eating everything up and I'm encouraging it.

You see Slash saved my son from a very hard life. No he didn't speak with him or do anything like that. Heck he doesn't even know that Gabriel exists.

You see my son has not had an easy life. He has severe learning disability and because of this he has always been picked on at school for being different, called dummy, stupid and many other things. He’s had a very hard time dealing with all that through out his young life. That would have been enough for most people to handle but he is also ADHD. He has a hard time focusing on anything and is extremely impulsive often thinking after he has done something instead of before. I must admit though he’s always spoken up and accepted the consequences of his actions which makes me very proud to be his mom.

Anyways we were dealing with all that and the separation of his father and I. It wasn’t easy but we managed and he was a happy kid for the most part except when forced to go to school. Then the worse thing possible happened to my poor boy 3 weeks before his 11th birthday. He went to his father’s house for a weekly visit and found his father dead. He had hung himself in the basement of his house. It destroyed my son as he loved his father very, very much. After this incident my son was like a hollow shell walking around. He became violent, not towards others but towards himself. He destroyed his room many times, tore up his mattress, pulled apart the walls and physically hurt himself. He was hurt so bad inside that there were many times I thought I would loose him.

I did everything I could for him, I held him and I would have listened to him as well except he went silent and refused to talk about it. I was loosing my son. Not physically but mentally. I sent him to a grief councilor for two years and although he started smiling somewhat again he wasn’t himself.

Then a miracle started. My older son had a beat-up old electric guitar hanging around. Since Gabe has always had a knack for fixing things he gave the guitar to him. It didn’t work right and was really beat-up but it was like gold to Gabe. He started playing around with it, taking it apart to understand how it worked etc.

A month later Christmas came along and with it came Guitar Hero 3. Gabe then met Slash. Not in person but through Guitar Hero 3. Suddenly that old beat-up guitar was working. Gabe managed to fix it. He would listen to songs and try to play them. He wasn’t bad either. I must admit he made that poor old beat-up guitar sound good. He really didn’t know what a chord was. He’d just listen to a song and try to play it. Day after day he played that beat-up guitar when he wasn’t playing it he was playing Guitar Hero and listening very hard to the songs. He’d then try and reproduce them on his old guitar.

For his birthday 3 months after Christmas I managed to save up enough money to buy him a Wal-Mart guitar and amp. It was the best we could do for him. You know what, that beat-up old guitar still sounded better. He started searching utube for videos of guitarists playing, mostly Slash videos. He wants to play like Slash. I don’t mean that he wants to be Slash he wants to be himself but play with skill and passion like Slash does. I don’t know if he ever will but I do know this, it doesn’t hurt the ears to hear him play and play is something he does every single day since he got that old guitar working.

My mother-in-law managed to get him 3 months of guitar lessons so he could learn to read music. After three months there was no way we could afford to continue paying for lessons so he bid his guitar teacher goodbye. Within one month his guitar teacher called saying that Gabe would be given an additional 5 months free lessons. I couldn’t believe it! This came out of nowhere. At the same time his grief councilor called, Gabe no longer needed her, the guitar had pulled him away from the direction he had been heading. It gave him confidence and something to be proud of. At school it gave him acceptance which was so important to him after spending his entire life as an outcast.

After only 6 months of playing that beat-up old thing he was good enough to enter his schools talent show and was voted most likely to have a career in guitar.Well his five months of free guitar lessons ended November 2008. I called his guitar teacher to thank him for everything he had done for Gabe. That’s when he told me he would still be teaching Gabe, that we would take it by ear. His exact words were “Gabe inspires me”. Basically if his classes fill up with paying customers Gabe is out of luck but for now there is room for him.

My son may have only been playing guitar for a year but he has a passion I have never seen in a child before. He plays all the time. He’s in the school guitar club, school band, taking lessons and plays at a local Youth Group. He’s excited, enthusiastic and happy. Not only does he try to play songs by other people but he is always trying to come up with his own. Some of those are pretty good. I enjoy listening to them. He also tries to do his own solos. He doesn’t let me listen to them but every once in a while I sneak a listen to him and he’s not bad considering how little time has passed since he started playing.

I spent 6 months making clay items and selling them until I had saved up enough money to get Gabe a new REAL guitar for Christmas 2008. It’s not much but for $500 I managed to get him a BC Rich Warlock. He really wants a Les Paul but that unfortunately is a few years savings around here but just in case I’ve already started saving.

I don’t know if he will ever have a career in music but I do know the guitar and the influence/music of Slash has excited him, given him new confidence and stopped him from going down a road that would have ended in heartbreak and jail. He has a strong passion and a reason to get up in the morning. He is still getting old pawn shop guitars both electric and acoustic and fixing them up.

He is still practicing daily. For his birthday his step father and I managed to barter a deal for a new Peavey amp for him in trade for computer technical services. That was so cool. Never have I been prouder of a son. I will back him in anything he tries. That goes for all my kids.

Now you can understand why I encourage my son so much. Guitars have made him blossom, given him confidence and made him smile. What more can a mother ask for?

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