What’s Your Story: Isaac Gaither

BHS freshman overcomes difficult times with his family by his side.

Initially quiet, freshman Isaac Gaither seems like every other high school student. That’s the thing, though. He’s not. Once he gets talking, it’s clear where his values and his heart lay: with his family.

With a mother who has supported him and his two younger brothers since they were born, Isaac was brought up close to his family. He was always encouraged to play some kind of sport, which for him was football, baseball and lacrosse.

“I’m taking a year off [from sports] because I’m going to help out my mom,” Isaac said.

Isaac explained how his mother’s car is broken and he is working to figure out which part needs to be replaced so she can buy the part for his uncle to fix it.

“He has had a difficult time with his sports since high school football season and was worried about me [transporting] him and his brothers to all the sporting events,” said Isaac’s mother Jennifer Gaither. “I did tell him not to worry, I’ll figure it out as I always do.”

Constantly supporting her kids, Jennifer encouraged sports from a young age so they would have “structure and interaction with other children as soon as they could.”

“He has played sports since he was able to go to school,” said his mother. “I think he just needed a break.”

Athletics, however, are not always the center of the world for Isaac. Oftentimes, he is striving to be his best for his two younger brothers Ian (12) and Cain (4).

“[Ian and I] don’t really get along, but my four-year-old little brother has seizures and so I always want to make sure that he’s okay,” said Isaac. “If anything goes wrong with him I’m going to help him.”

Cain was only a one-year-old at the time of the first seizure, taking an emotional toll on the family. Jennifer says she prepared her boys for these kinds of situations, though, giving them the knowledge they would need to help if anything were to happen.

“YouTube does a lot for me,” said Isaac. “I watch a video about it once in a while just to keep me updated on what to do and how to do it.”

Jennifer says her son knows to remain calm and how to administer the medication to his younger brother in case of an emergency.

“He doesn’t know when he’s having a seizure,” said Isaac. “I don’t really like to be around when he’s getting back from one because [after] his last seizure [it] took him three hours to remember me and my mom and all of our names.”

Isaac had been at a football game during Cain’s most recent seizure. He describes the experience as “really scary” because he never knows what the outcome will be.

“The hardest thing [for me] is if he doesn’t come back from [a seizure],” Isaac said.

This is something that will always stick with Isaac, whether it is remembering Cain in that kind of situation or trying to help him through it.

“You don’t really want to see your little brother go through something horrible like that, but you have to deal with it for the rest of your life,” Isaac said.

The support his mother endlessly displays easily translates into the actions of Isaac as he watches out for Cain.

“It’s definitely been hard for me,” said Isaac. “I really don’t want to see him go through that, so I try to help him out the best I can [by] giving him Gatorades and toys.”

Rather than feeling the responsibility to care for his brothers, he says he only feels pressure to be a good brother to them.

“He is very caring and genuine, always thinking of others, especially his family,” his mother said.

All three boys are very close according to Jennifer. She said Ian and Isaac do a lot together, and Cain looks up to Isaac for many things, missing him when the two older boys visit their father on the weekends. Love is not sparse in this family.

“As I’m a single mom of three boys, [Isaac] tends to take the role of helping out with them and trying to get them things, always thinking of his brothers,” said Jennifer. “I sometimes have to remind him he’s the oldest brother, not the parent.”

Jennifer explained how Isaac spends most Sundays with his father, sometimes even Saturday into Sunday. His parents split up when he was four-years-old. While it isn’t always easy, she said he understood more about the situation “as he got older.”

“In the beginning, it was very difficult as he was four-years-old and remembered what it was like to live with both Mom and Dad,” said his mother. “He does often get upset when his father can’t take them and skips weekends.”

Through absolutely anything, Isaac knows he can always turn to his mother for help.

“My mom plays a really big role in my life,” said Isaac. “I look up to her for everything.”

Jennifer appreciates the close relationship she holds with her oldest son. It is something she wishes will never change.

“I had him three months after my twentieth birthday, and since he could speak he was able to come to me and tell me anything,” Jennifer said.

A relationship like this is not forced. It comes with years of encouragement and affection.

“I have always told all my boys, ‘I’m your mother and parenting is my job, but I’m also always here for each and every one of you and nothing is too big or too small to talk [about] with Mom,’” said Jennifer. “We can work together and tackle anything.”

This does not go unnoticed by Isaac. He said she does everything for him.

“[She’s there even if] it’s just to get a second job to get me what I want,” said Isaac. “If I break my wrist, she’ll always be there, or if I even have a broken heart, she’ll always be there.”