Sunday, July 10, 2011

he's perfect

This has been sitting in my drafts for a while ... because I know what a private man my boy is. But this month I've had friend after friend after friend proudly exclaiming over their graduates, sharing their pictures on facebook, anticipating their departure for whatever's next. And I just wanted my turn.

You see, he's perfect - he was when he was born. Smooth skinned. Unwrinkled. Smiling. None of that redskinned miss-shapened head mess. He slept, until we got him home at least. And he spent much of his childhood trying to make sure his brother was safe, that I was okay. When I was in grad school, he asked if he could help by making dinner for us all ... as in the best lasagna I've ever eaten. He's still the most helpful person I know. He cares for everyone and everything. And he has the biggest heart in the world.

Some things have happened to my stunning golden boy. Some things that even a hard heart would struggle to forget. Things that a tender heart spends hours working out, swimming, hiking, running, to be stronger than. And he is stronger. He is stronger than all those things he should never have had to endure. And smarter. And most of all he's gentle and funny and intelligent. And as loving as ever.

I don't think he has any idea how brilliant he is. He knows that we talk about things other families don't. That we read more than many other people do. But I don't think he knows that he's actually brilliant - shining. Starlike. He makes things make sense to me that I otherwise struggle with. He has an amazing grasp of the abstract, and an incredible sense of perspective.

Despite years and years of fighting to succeed in a system that didn't work for him. Despite teachers that lied and worse, neglected. Despite loving learning and knowledge and having plans to share that. He quit. He tried to make it work, and one day, one teacher's idiotic comment was the last straw. He walked out in the middle of class and never went back.

He hasn't walked across a stage in a rented tux. He hasn't worn a cap and gown. He hasn't danced awkwardly with me to a song that made us both giggle. That's not a memory we share. But we do share something that to me is even more special.

This January, while he was alone at his grandparents' house, he got himself up and out the door early on a Saturday morning. He spend 8 hours writing 6 exams. And then he walked himself back home.
A month later we got the results. He did not just pass. He excelled. Every mark was outstanding. We hugged. And then we went out for BBQ. We ate an insane amount of pork to celebrate. Just the two of us. Just a quiet evening. It was perfect, and very him.

I ache when I think how little he knows how special he is. How amazing it is for someone to be brilliant and attractive and empathic and to care as fully as he does about other people and the earth. I don't know what I can do to help him learn to believe in himself. And in the meantime, I just want you all to know. He's perfect. Tuxless. And perfect.

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