And nerves of steel.
Okay, so the nerves didn’t come naturally. In fact, took about 7.5 years to really master those two wheels. (A pox on training wheels.)
L spent the latter half of his spring break solo with dad in a cabin. Here’s something that I think is basically true (with exceptions, of course). When the fellas are hanging out with other fellas, they ingest only cured meat products, their mouths clamp shut if faced with a vegetable or a fruit, and they forgo bathing at all costs.
I suppose a mother should expect such things. I can only hope we’ve averted scurvy.
To that, soapy, warm, clean L.
I grew up in the Midwest. One of my parents was raised in the Deep South; the other grew up all over the place and escaped a fairly dark childhood because he is, well, he’s brilliant. College at 16. PhD at 20. Particle physicist/musician/poet/programmer/humorist. All of that probably came to be because he was so dang smart and because he absolutely, desperately needed to get away.
That said, brains aren’t equivalent to common sense. The first movie we saw in the theater was “Soylent Green.” (Yes, it’s people. For a small child, NOT GOOD.) The first movie I saw on television? “The Birds.” Yes, THOSE birds. Terrifying, squawking, ubiquitous, horrifying, not-melodious birds. To this day, a bird that’s too close is, dagnabbit, just plain scary to me. Lovely songbirds? Charming from a distance. Hummingbirds? Cute, but aren’t they a bit like killer bees?
This weekend, I set out to conquer that fear. What better place than a beach filled with seagulls and a loaf of stale bread? Seagulls are goofy, right? Pixar and Disney depict them that way. Sure, they can be a bit bossy. So can I.
Bread chunks in hand, I began my quest. Gulls are not shy. In fact they’re downright aggressive. (And, yes, of course I should know this, but we must remember the Midwestern roots.) The second they sensed “sucker with bread” they swarmed. I shrieked. They stepped back and squawked at me. With great trepidation, I held out my hand, with giant 72,000 foot long bread scrap (give or take), and they swarmed again.
I stopped my lunacy long enough to take a good look at the leader of the bird pack and what I saw looked downright human.
“Just pipe down and hand me the bread and we’ll all go on with our day.”
Did that. Lost my voice in the process. Gained a little less fear of birds. And a son who laughed so hard, he fell to the ground and said, “my mom is crazy.”
Laughter. As much and as often as possible.
Oh, the joy of a well-child appointment (as opposed to a sick child appointment)
Went yesterday to have the lad measured, weighed, tapped and prodded. As we were sitting in the waiting room, the nurse came in and instructed L to remove his clothes down to his undies.
L: “Well, this is going to be embarrassing. What if the doctor comes in and sees me nearly naked and has to turn away and gather herself? What if she’s not expecting this? This feels very awkward to me. I think the nurse might have confused us with another patient.”
M: “L, your doctor is a pediatrician. She expects to see you in your undies. She would be surprised if you weren’t nearly buck naked.”
L: “Okaaaay. But if we have this wrong….”
Doc comes in and is amazed at how tall L has become. She is the single greatest pediatrician in the world. She knows that L comprehends everything and speaks to him as she would speak to me.
Doc: “L, what’s your favorite subject in school?”
L: “Math. Definitely math.”
D: “Why math?”
L: “Because I have systems and strategies and math makes complete sense. For instance, if you’re adding two three digit numbers, you already know that…”
D: “Yes, you definitely understand math. That’s great. I wish more people loved math.”
L then tells her about his day, his week, his life, his dog, his friends. At the end of the appointment, he says, “well, did I do okay? Am I healthy?”
D: “Yes, you’re very, very healthy. You’re amazing.”
One thing I know: When the front door is shut and locked, we are a wildly inappropriate family.
We have a habit of trying to pants each other at every available opportunity. Our version rarely involves any success. It really is the journey. In other words, if one is wearing sweats or some other elasticized waistband garb, better grab on and tug. This leads to shrieks, laughter, and planting oneself firmly on the ground.
I sometimes wonder if the neighbors can hear us laughing, chasing, and ending up in a heap. Then I think, well, if everyone were to stop being so serious and just try a bit of pantsing, maybe everyone really would get along.
When in doubt, pants. (The verb, not the noun.)
L: “Mom, do you love your bike?”
M: “Yeah, it’s okay.”
L: “When I ride, I feel like I’m one with my bike. I feel like the wind.”