18 years ago today, #2 plopped happily into our lives. Guided into this world by a Mennonite nurse and a midwife who told dirty jokes with each contraction, you squawked and screeched your way through our lives and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
When you were 8 months old, we took you to a doctor for your chronic fever and sore throat. He took a brief look at you, announced you were mentally retarded, and suggested we put you in a home, as we were uneducated hicks and obviously unable to care properly for such a child. I gave him a blank stare, left without paying, and found another doctor, who took a look at the dark circles under your eyes and said “allergies. Take out the carpet.” We did, and a few short days later, you woke up laughing, cheerful, and haven’t been sick since.
By the time you were 2, you had mastered the Socratic method, and could logic circles around me until I shouted “Shut up and go to bed because I said so!” Once, when you were 3, your father asked you “Are you not ready to go to bed?” in an attempt to fool you into it. You looked at him, blinked, and said “Yes, I am not.”
As a toddler, we had to be excruciatingly specific about what you could and could not do. “Do not climb the kitchen cabinets. Do not climb the bookshelves in the living room. Do not climb the bookshelves in your bedroom” etc. If I missed something, say, “Do not remove the screen and climb out the window” you would do just that, because I didn’t tell you not to. It was frustrating at the time, but that sort of logic and strong mindedness has come in handy as you’ve gotten older.
As a boy, pre-puberty, you cultivated and nourished your sense of logic and mental order. It was tough. Psychologists and doctors told us you were ADHD, teachers wore a tight smile when they learned you’d be in their class. The exception to that has been the male teachers. They *got* you, and nurtured your curiousity and talents. You developed a love for math, and the extention of that- multihedral origami. We have so many 20 sided stars and skeletal cubes, and I love every one of them. This from the baby who oozed from every oriface and cried all the time. This from the retarded baby who needed to be in a long-term care facility.
Your teenage years have been kind to us. We believe that each child comes into this world carrying X amount of trouble. It can be given to the parents all at once, as a young child, dribbled out slowly throughout his life, or in one nasty chunk as a teenager. I think your teen years are divine reciprocity for your infancy. You’ve done magnificantly in school, worked hard at your job and gotten high praises from both teachers and bosses. You have made us very, very proud.
time for mom to brag:
He’s taken the SAT once, and made a 1300 on the traditional part. “mentally deficient” little boy. Phphpht.
He’s working 3-4 nights a week and maintaining a 3.6 GPA.
He’s taking AP classes, and Auto Shop.
He’s friends with jocks, nerds, and gearheads.
He fixes other people’s computers, and gets paid for it.
And then, you go and do something that brings me back to Earth, reminds me that you are 18 and not 38. Just this morning, I get “Hey Mom, I’m 18 now. I told a guy if he’d lick the fiberglass blanket in Shop I’d buy him a can of dip.”