Monday, January 5, 2009

My Best Boy

I've not written much about my son. I am going to take PE Nolan's lead and use some letters rather than his name. "MBB", stands for 'my best boy'. (and my only one)

MBB is amazing, no, really, he is. He was 9 pounds - nine ounces when he was born. OUCH!! He was also a twin - and his twin never formed correctly and never lived. His father, my "X" was a twin, as well. Interestingly, his twin was killed at age 32 while changing a tire on the highway, out in Seattle. We represented the family and traveled to the West Coast to take part in the strewing of his ashes over Bridal Veil Mountain on the day he an his fiance' were to be married - June 12th. Yes, they were going to be married on the mountain, apparently hanging off a cliff. Anyway, we created MBB on that trip and I find it ironic that one twin didn't live.

MBB was a beautiful baby full of life and curiosity. He said his first words at six months old, I swear it, he did and by one years old he was speaking in full sentences He could read fluently by age three. Shortly thereafter his father left MBB hasn't seen him in 20 years. I realize that I needed to be with his father so we could create MBB. Everything has a price and MBB is worth the price - ten, no, a million fold! Despite the horrible circumstances that ended the marriage I always told MBB that when we created him we loved each other, and for a time we loved him together. That was the truth. The rest didn't matter.

MBB loved school, learning, reading, art and creating. His mind was and is fascinating, precise, deep, confident and intense. He was reading at a college level by the time he was in fifth grade. I recall needing to get 'permission' for him to read certain books off the 'approved' list. Once they were assigned a project - to create their own ad for a product. MBB decided to create a cereal ad, which he titled "Eat Me". In all their ridiculous wisdom the school was 'concerned'. It was quite an odd phone call from the school counselor. She first asked if I knew about his 'ad'. Of course I did. you idiot. She suggested that perhaps he had a 'different reference for the words "eat me" and this was cause for concern. "What?" MBB had NO idea of any other reference for "Eat Me' other than his intent to tell the consumers that this was the cereal to eat. Idiots!! And they would NOT display his cereal box on the shelf in the lobby with all the others. Can you freaking imagine?

By the time he got to middle school he was a quiet trend setter. He had his own style of personal creative expression - all of which I supported, encouraged and celebrated. Personal creative expression hurts no one. MBB was an A+ student so right or wrong, he could get away with more than, shall we say, the kids who were in trouble often and/or low achievers. MBB went through his gothic phase. I didn't like it but whatever. The principal called me one day and asked, "Do you know that MBB is wearing black lipstick and black nail polish?" (again, how could I not know), I answered, yes, of course, I bought it for him at CVS." Long pause - silence - I waited - "Oh, I see, well, he can't wear nail polish and lipstick in school." I ask, "Why is that?" He replies, "because he is a boy."!! After I gave him an opportunity to re-think his reasoning he came up with it being a distraction and could he just wear it on Friday's!!! We agreed and so did MBB. Thank God the phase only lasted a year or so. During the personal creative expression exploration years he was asked to represent the Middle school at a state level to assist educators in developing ways to better 'reach' kids his age. I am sure you can only imagine their initial reaction when they first saw him - layers of chains on his neck, black eye-liner, black lipstick and nail polish, a full head of long curly hair and dread-locks , black army boots, sometimes a red plaid kilt over black cargo pants - getting the picture? Once they heard him speak most were forced to look beyond the 'look' and listen to him. In his own subtle way he helped every stuffed shirt to look beyond their prejudices, stereotypes and labels. He was 12. I was and I am his biggest cheer-leader. If you were to talk to him today he would tell you just how important my cheering was/is. Everyone needs a cheer-leader.

He completed high school in three years instead of four. He was driven to succeed and his grades and academic career were at the highest levels. I must say this, often times people say to me, "you must be so proud", my answer is, "I am proud that he is proud." I never impose my values on to my kids about what is prideful or not for them. I have responded to those who say such things, "if he were a bagger at the grocery store would you be asking me how proud I am?" Pride is very individual and unique.

MBB graduated NYU - English Scholars program - cum laude. He studied in Prague for a year and traveled extensively. He has a teaching degree and teaches at an International High School, English as a second language to a diverse student population. He has brought forth many changes to their teaching cirriculum and approach. His soft spoken style lends itself to people really listening.

MBB is a gentle and very kind young man. I have never heard him say a mean word to or about anyone. He is a loyal friend. His interactions with children and the elderly are beautiful and he understands human frailty. He is a deep thinker and I am thrilled that he still looks to me and my wisdom to sort through an issue. He has loved hard and had his heart broken and still believes in love. He is tied to his family and all our traditions. He tells his friends that being around "us" and how we love gives him hope that people can stay happily together, no matter what. He digs his heels in around faith and God and spirituality. He doesn't believe in God or Jesus as a saviour. He challenges me all the time about my God/Jesus armor. Once I shared with him that as his Mom I thought i had failed him by not insisting he be part of a faith community. He assured me that quite the opposite was true, and that he is very thankful that I didn't push him. We have had many, many strong conversations about God. He always makes perfect sense. For me? Faith and God are not about making sense - which boggles his mind. And that's okay with both of us.

MBB is solid. A pillar of all that is good and 'just' in this world. He has an amazing sense of humor too. He often wishes I would have saved his dead twin, claiming he would have carried it around in a jar with him. I have no doubt that he would.

I love you MBB.



Comrade Kevin said...

I am reminded of the Chinese proverb: "There is only one beautiful child, and ever mother has it". :-)

Gail said...

Oh Kevin- "thank you", again, "thank you"

love Gail

Kartz said...

A heart-warming read. Made me smile... Chuckled at the lipstick part. :)

It really is heartening to see children not tarnished by the many "elements" in life, isn't it? I wish you and all your family the best life has to offer...


I guess I have missed out on a couple of posts. Will get back soon.

Kinda grim 'ere. Will be back in the 'groove' soon.

Peace. Be well.

Gail said...

"Thank you" so much Kartz. And yes, it is nice. He is not tarnished at all - he shines!
Be well and peace to you and yours
Love Gail

Hi! I'm Grace said...

To have a wonderful child, it start with a wonderful mother. :)

Gail said...


"Thank you" so much.

Love Gail

Val said...

That is a beautiful tribute to your son!