I want to tell you a few things, but since you aren’t really able to have heavier conversations, I figured I’d jot it down for later.
First, please know that this summer was not the summer I wanted us to have. I got sick and just had no energy. We didn’t go and do as much as we usually go and do. We went to Tennessee with Oui Oui right when school got out, and I’m so grateful for that trip – especially for the experiences you got to have. You saw mountains and rocks in situ for the first time in your life. While Stella was happily alpine sledding, you were content to “mine” for minerals and fossils. We probably spent $100 on buckets of dirt seeded with delightful stuff and it was worth every penny. You could have done that all day (and almost did), and I was content to sit with you while you did it. I estimate you came home with at least 30 lbs of rocks and fossils. You are your MyMom’s son.
But otherwise, we didn’t do much. There was an odd trip to the trampoline park or Chuck E Cheese here,and a museum or two there, but we stayed close to home. We didn’t go to jiu jitsu much, not because you didn’t want to go (although you did complain vigorously about sweating in the heat in your heavy gi), but because I just didn’t have the energy. That stops once school starts, by the way.
You’re getting ready to start first grade. As usual, I’m a nervous wreck. You’re not where I want you to be or where you need to be. You need to be in a gifted classroom. I have fought and continue to fight for that. Everyone that talks to you thinks you’re f’ing brilliant, from the guy at the grocery store yesterday to the lady at the pharmacy when we went to get your meds. You’ve spent the summer reading about the periodic table, chemistry, and physics. We wrote to Bill Nye, but he never wrote back (bastard!). We are currently germinating Coast Redwood seeds because you’re fascinated by them. We spent part of this past weekend playing with the gallium you’ve wanted for months (and special thanks to your JoePop for sending you stuff like gallium and Coast Redwood growing kits). I spent the rest of the weekend cleaning up the results from the gallium. Playing with gallium makes it look like the Tin Man had the shits upon every surface of the house.
But I digress. I’m sorry you have to grow up in a system that doesn’t seem to value your kind of gifts. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to make these people see reason – to look at the mountains of evidence suggesting your immense potential but they won’t because they’re hung up on one f’ing test score. I’m sorry I keep dragging you places to be tested. My heart almost broke after the last one, when you asked “MyMom, how many more of these do I have to take?”
You have such a sweet nature. You get upset when someone prunes or otherwise cuts into a tree. You want to nurture absolutely everything. You get upset when other kids even pretend to “shoot” you with a stick. That’s just not who you are. Yesterday you spent about 5 minutes studying Pillow the Violet (yes, you name all your plants), rubbing your cheeks on the leaves because they are soft (like a pillow – duh!).
I worry. I worry that other kids are going to start to get mean, calling you weird or worse because you’d rather discuss plants or elements than video games or monster trucks. I worry you may have to actually use the jiu jitsu you’re learning (but oh shit we’ve been missing lots of classes…).
I’m going to continue to worry. I’m going to continue to fight. I’m going to continue to indulge your curiosity as much as I possibly can. I’m going to continue to soak up all the little moments like when you rub your cheek on a violet leaf, knowing that one day probably soon the world might dull that impulse for you. I’m also going to try to put my worry aside, because I don’t want you to know that I worry. I want you to continue to walk out the door each day feeling confident and curious, hoping you always will (and steeling myself for when and if that changes).
I hope you read this one day as a happy, kind, successful man. I hope you have mostly happy memories of being a kid. I do try to make sure that happens for you and your sister. I hope you’ve continued to be led by your sense of wonder, and that you’re pursuing a degree or career in the things you’ve always talked about: botany, engineering, paleontology (well, maybe not that because jobs and stuff), architecture, chemistry, or street performing (maybe not that, either). I hope you know that your MyMom loved you more than she could ever tell or show. And I hope you always call me MyMom.
Good luck this year, Dude.
I love you. We got this.