“Mom, my identity has been stolen.”
That’s how my day started. I guess that’s how this blog is destined to begin, as well. I guess it’s a fitting place to begin…with my firstborn child.
My son, Zack, is a charismatic, intelligent college student. He is handsome young man, a loyal friend, a devoted fraternity brother, and obviously, the firstborn child of a protective Jewish mother.
Just as it has been passed down by his forefathers before him, he possesses the innate ability to either dramatize ridiculously small issues, or on the flip side, gratuitously downplay monumentally and catastrophically challenging moments.
He once had the wind knocked out of him as a child, admittedly a frightening experience for anyone. For two hours, I had to sit down with 4 year-old Zack (armed with diagrams of human anatomy) and convince him that he most certainly did not have the pneumothorax he assured me he sustained in his death-defying two and a half-foot fall off of a playground structure. And yes, he did actually use the word “pneumothorax.”
On the diametrically opposite side of the spectrum, he called me three years ago on the first day of classes at college to inform me he’d been in “a little accident.”
The ENTIRE left front quarter panel of his car had been violently ripped off. Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident (or during his playground “near death” experience).
This pretty much sums up life with Zack.
He has a rapid-fire, wicked sense of humor, which comes in handy when he needs to deliver “less-than-stellar” news. Up until about a year ago, if it was spill-able, breakable, easy-to-lose, or not nailed into the ground with concrete anchors, Zack was veritable human wrecking ball. I’d grown to expect “less-than-stellar” news updates at least daily (and made sure our car/homeowner’s insurance was always current).
One might think it’s frustrating to spend one’s life picking up the shards of glass, misplaced library books, fenders, etc. Many of my friends with boys can commiserate with the occupational hazards of raising a boy. Looking in hindsight at the Tornado-named-Zack, I have to say that there was something oddly comforting in the ordered chaos. As destructive as he could unintentionally be, his kindness, concern and wit overshadowed all the physical damage. He possessed a genuine sincerity in his awkwardness. To befriend him ensured that you’d probably end up replacing several electronic devices…but with a guarantee that your life would be far richer for it.
I learned something very valuable from him. He had an innate quality to always sincerely and humbly apologize.
I’ve never had an easy time “being the bigger person.” Apologizing is painful for me. Very painful. Watching a little boy offer his authentic apologies to adults and children alike for hurting or damaging something (or someone) always made me give pause. My little destructive typhoon of a son taught me the importance of being earnestly, sincerely and thoughtfully apologetic when I’ve inflicted harm.
And I do. I try. No matter how much it stings.
Now that he’s grown into a suave, graceful adult who runs not only his own life almost flawlessly but also runs a successful, cohesive fraternity of brothers as well, I have to say I miss the chaos. I miss the appreciation he bestowed so authentically for helping him. I miss the back-and-forth witty banter we’d inevitably engage in while fixing his latest mess.
Today’s challenge, if I choose to accept it, is to figure out which road we’re headed down with his morning proclamation. If his identity has, in fact, been compromised, it may be a while before I get to writing that next post being that my new project du jour will be hunting down the thieves. No one messes with my baby. My guess, however, is that his wallet is under his bed. Or…
The goat ate it. And if it did, you can bet Zack apologized to it.