Friday, December 13, 2019

Christmas Kid

If I were to think of the most amazing human on the planet right now, all of my thoughts might point to my son Julian.  Sometimes it is so weird for me to refer to him as "my son."  Somehow he feels like more than that. I can pretend though.  But he is at that magical age where he's a kid in many ways and is able to enjoy the best parts about being a kid but also an interesting human as well.  In fact, I just read an article in the excellent Reader's Digest about why following your dreams you had as a ten-year-old will make you happy and I love looking at Julian with that information in my mind.  Who are you now? What are your dreams? He's fun and silly and still a kid and he's also able to have complex thoughts and make real goals for himself and examine things intelligently. 

This article says that life satisfaction depends on "remembering who we were during that unique developmental stage, where everything that's in us shows itself for the first time."  I love it.  What we loved at age ten will stay with us forever.  Right now he questions everything, and thoughtfully.  He is a natural leader in that he actually doesn't have many close friends but seems to find them at school and drift from group to group to play whatever/whenever suits his mood.  Or, he'll bring a book and read it all during recess because that's exactly what he chooses to do.  Whenever we go to the school for something, kids are always saying hi to him and Sean and I are like, "do you know him?"  "No..."  It's such a puzzle.

This summer he made his own signs and collection boxes out of cardboard and solicited donations from passersby to give to the Primary Children's Hospital. He did it on his own. I was like, where is Julian? Oh, he's out on the corner. This was when he'd made the lofty goal of reading War and Peace so he'd bring that out with him while he waited for people to stop.  He says he's socially awkward yet he has no qualms about doing what I would think would be frightening for someone who thinks so.  He told me he'd listened to some kids in older grades at school make up their own business using skills they had for some entrepreneurial project.  Frustrated, he said he didn't have any profitable skills but thought he could get money this way and donate it to a good cause.  So I sit back and watch him do things like this and I'm like, no profitable skills, eh?

This doesn't mean his life is easy. He gets teased, left out. Kids aren't sure what to do with him. He knows it, he sees it.  But man, I'll be darned if he lets it get him down.  It's like.. it's like he knows his worth, or something.  It's the weirdest thing.  What a marvel.   Here's one more example of him taking charge of his problems:

He was telling me about how disgusting the bathrooms are at school. And, indeed, they sounded foul.  I told him to do something about it. Write a letter! I say.   And so he did:  

"filthy poo smear."
Like, how is one taught to write a persuasive essay? Is it in English class? Would lesson #1 be "have strong convictions."   "Be aware of injustices around you."   "Know you are capable of making a difference."  How is this taught?

He told me he noticed a change after-- the TP on the ceiling had been cleaned off, for example.  I hope he remains encouraged.

He had been struggling socially and again, he took an offhanded suggestion and immediately put it into action (I need to be careful) and he started writing kind notes to everyone he saw. "Have a great day!" "You can do it!"  "You're one in a million!"  Dozens a day.  He's kind of intense.  He told me he started a group of Kindness Capers and he was the CEO.  Another competing group was formed (or had been already and turned into a foe) and they had a bit of a rivalry going on there for a while.  Elementary school is so weird.  I honestly don't know what to make of most of this.  

He'll tell me things like, "I was looking at something in the hallway and a kid came up to me and said 'hi, Julian!' and he tried to talk to me and I didn't want to talk, I just wanted to work on my thing. I didn't even know him. It was so annoying."   So we're working on things.  I told him he needs to keep reaching out to other students, being kind, trying to make a difference in at least one person's day, or do things to make the school better so that when the time comes to run for political office, he'll already have a decent following.  Because this kid, I'll tell ya.

One last thing.  He recently had a piano recital. Typically, at the very end, his teacher hands out awards to various students for reaching certain goals.  Julian was awarded a medal with a few other students. He requested his teacher put it around his neck and then he turned around and saluted the entire crowd.  Like, what? What?

To close, I just wanted to mention a couple of quotes from this morning.  He's kind of a morning person and he makes them a complete joy.  He often speaks in poetry and I laugh at what comes out sometimes. He's quite verbose as well so I often miss things he's saying.  But he made one remark about the kitten, whom he calls Tines, nickname of Tiny:

"Oh, Tines.  She's always staring off somewhere, reconnecting to heaven."

And then this one as he was packing up getting ready to head out:

"There's this girl in my class who had guinea pigs. She was so excited. It was like, 

Day One:  'I'm getting guinea pigs!'   
Day Two: 'I'm getting guinea pigs!'  
Day Three: 'I'm getting guinea pigs!' 
Day Four: 'I'm getting guinea pigs!' 
Day Five: 'The guinea pigs are dead.'"

I gasped, burst out laughing, and asked, "hahahaha NO! Really??"  He laughed back and said it was true.  It was a horrible awful story but man, the telling of it was just excellent.  We both cringed and laughed and laughed and said our faretheewells.   

Again: This kid, I'll tell ya.

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