I have a child
who shall remain nameless.
He graduated recently. I wanted to make a big deal about it. He would have none of that. He resisted traditional announcements, and finally agreed to one that had a picture of him holding a large, angry iguana. I wanted him to walk in graduation. He most reluctantly agreed. If it had not been for the rule that a cap and gown must be worn, he would have ditched his in the bushes. As it was, he wore an old t-shirt and work shorts under the gown. "Gowns are for chicks," he said.
He posed for what I called "mandatory" pictures with an uncomfortable, obligatory smile on his face.
He tolerated a small gathering at the house because he was given permission to take off after a while with his buddies. Also, there was cake, so ya' know, ya' gotta eat cake. His amazing shop teacher, Mr. Smith, came to the house and shared with the boy what an awesome kid he is. The boy thanked Mr. Smith for helping him land his first job at a machine shop and for being his mentor and friend. I cried ('cause I was so happy to eat cake, not because I was in any way emotional).
He's my boy, after all.
He also turned 18, this child of mine.
Hard to believe.
And in some ways, it seems like much longer.
It's been challenging. He helps to make sure Guy and I are firm in our parenting resolve by regularly doing a perimeter check of the boundaries. The bonus is that we are very clear about most parenting questions that come up for us with the other kids.
Been there, done that, with him.
I'll send him a thank you card later.
The one thing that I know for sure is that children come as who they are. They are well formed beings from day one. I could try to take responsibility for the way my kids are, call it credit, call it blame, but the bottom line is, especially in his case, that he would probably have been exactly who he is today if he'd been raised by wolves.
I'm not entirely convinced some wildlife weren't involved at some point.
I love him.
I tell him.
He grunts and sticks out his chin.
I think he means, "You too, mom," but I don't speak caveman.
A grey cake and black candles for the b-day boy atop a Tres Leches cake.
He was very pleased.
A cool toolbox for him to store his calipers in at work.
And beef jerky. It's the bacon of the dried meat world, you know.
Grandpa looks tiny next to the man-boy, and I don't think he's done growing (the man-boy I mean. Not Grandpa. Grandpa is shrinking at about 2% annually.)
Oooo. Ouch. Lookin' old there.
The best friend he'll ever have, without a doubt.
Support from his friends who all go to different schools.
And the real love of his life. Sometimes I think she came here just for him. She has a magical power over him, a soothe-the-savage-beast effect, that rounds out sharp corners and refines rough edges.
And, if, dear reader, you see him, just remember: I never said who I was talking about, and I will deny everything. Plausible deniability.
Child? What child?