When the boy was in the belly, so many years ago, those who know about these things told me there might be something wrong with him. The levels aren’t right and there are more tests you must take. There is blood to be drawn and magical gel for your stomach and needles that will tell us the answers. There are pamphlets to be read and counselors to cry to and peer groups that will strengthen you in this difficult time. And oh, by the way, having considered the carefully researched odds, would you consider abortion?
None of it mattered.
The boy was our boy, no matter how he arrived from the belly. And so those who know about these things took their needles and their counselors and their carefully researched odds and left the husband and I and the 5 year old teenager alone to wait for the boy to arrive.
There were real fireworks when the boy was born. I held the brand new tiny boy tight as we looked out of the 5th floor window of that big hospital on the hill. We looked through the dark sky, down to the flats where the rest of the world was celebrating the opening of the new bazillion dollar baseball stadium. The boy and I knew the fireworks were really for him. I was sure the fireworks were there because the boy was out of the belly and it was clear to me, despite all of the carefully researched odds, there wasn’t one thing wrong with him. The boy, hours old, already knew that the fireworks were there because fireworks were super cool. And oh, by the way, was there any way he could light one?
From that day on, the boy has fearlessly lived his life in pursuit of all that was super cool. And I have trailed woefully behind, attempting to protect him from all of the carefully researched odds that are against him.
The 6 month old boy screamed in protest of my calm and peaceful environment and made it clear that he didn’t really believe naps were necessary. The 14 month old boy shook the entire house when he leapt from the railing of his warm and safe crib and announced to the world with conviction, “I JUMP!” The 28 month old boy fed his carrots to the floor, pointed to McDonald's french fries and yelled, “I want supersize!” The toddler boy ignored educational Sesame Street but told a captive audience in line at the Target store, as he pointed to a Men in Black DVD, that he wants the, “black man, black man, mommy!” The four year old boy disregarded the water safety portion of his swimming lesson and instead, dove to the bottom of the deep end of the pool just to see how far he could go. The 2nd grade boy ignored the plastic flying elephants at the amusement park in favor of flying through the dangerous world on a roller coaster I was convinced would kill him. I looked on in fear, but it was clear to me, that despite all of the carefully researched odds, there was nothing wrong with the boy.
As the boy has gotten older, he has continued to ignore all the odds given to him by those who know about these things. He insists on fast forwarding a life I would prefer to slow down a bit. In our family, it was the boy who figured out how to text 10 minutes after we got a cell phone. It was the boy who first bypassed the Net Nanny on the computer. It was the boy who told his teacher he didn’t need to show his work in math because he “already knew the answer in my head”. It is the boy who, without nerves, gave a speech last week to 50 master’s degree students at the local university. His only worry was getting a second muffin from the complimentary snack table before they were all gone. I looked on proudly and it was clear to me, that despite all of the carefully researched odds, there was nothing wrong with the boy.
And it was that same confident boy last week, who exhibited particularly cunning behavior when he independently activated the parental controls, for ALL of the TV programs, on the husband’s big TV. It was that same sweet boy from my belly who was the only person who knew the secret code to unlock those TV programs. It was 11 years ago that those who know about these things presented me with carefully researched odds and I’ve always believed they were wrong. But as the husband and I and the 15 year old teenager sat helplessly on the couch and waited for the boy to arrive, I began to have my doubts. On that day, as I sat staring at the silent TV that the boy had hijacked, it was clear to me, there just might be something wrong with that boy.
Check This Out!
If you could invite any 3 people to dinner, who would you invite?
Like any good 40 something mother who is a former big haired girl from the 80’s, the obvious answer to this question is Oprah, Jesus and Jon Bon Jovi.
Somebody might be losing their dinner spot at my table however, to Tod Davies. Davies is a screenwriter, producer, radio food show host, and the editor and publisher of the online magazine Exterminating Angel Press. A few of you may want to check out the Exterminating Angel Press website and it’s thoughts on “creative solutions for practical idealists” and a “practical look at what is and isn’t working on the planet”.
I am, however, most fond of Tod Davies for her recent book, Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking with What You’ve Got. This is a fabulous little cookbook without a single “recipe” in it. Instead it is full of stories and moments and inspirational thoughts that point to the heart of what everyday life should be. How nice it would be if we were all able to employ the Jam Today philosophy of, “If you want the world to be a better place, you should start by making sure everyone around you is well fed, and then work from there.”