At sixteen he is by far the tallest in the family with a shoe size that would make
you gasp if you knew it.
The only typical thing about him is his teenage bravado—that lovely (groan) chulent of uninformed independence, a habit of never calling home, and a you don’t need to tell me anything ‘tude and that sing-song two-note downward cadence--- “Mo-mmmmm…”
Over the years (we counted) we have ascribed to him 22 sobriquets from Scoopy to Kebab (!) to Vi to Little Person.
Poopoopoo he is quite an accomplished little person.
He has won awards for his piano playing and has performed at International Festivals as well as the Bronx Zoo, he is an actor (Yiddish theatre, a quick appearance on HBO, star of all past and current school plays) a writer and formidable raconteur (the entire school uses his name as a verb, a loverboy (he got asked out by a senior to the prom when he was only a freshie), and a black belt in TaeKwonDo.
He is a serious Nintendo Contender, no really, boys everywhere bow to him,
He is a three-time winner of the Usdan Chess Tournament.
He is on the cross-country team, in the philosophy club, the chorus, the swim club, and I’m not sure but I think on the debate team too.
He does not have time for all of these things, frankly.
He loves to hang out in the city with his truthfully very nice and heimish friends and stay at his Dad’s place which is much, much cooler than being in New Jersey.
But when he’s home here he relaxes and let’s me cuddle him for exactly 2.7 seconds and tells me he is grateful and that I take care of all his needs and I am the best mom.
He set up my new computer and carefully crafted a cheat sheet for all the commands.
Today a teacher tried to bully him and I wanted to smack her.
I worry that his Lucky jeans aren’t washed often enough, that his lips are too chapped, that he has styled himself “transportationally adventurous” which means he takes the subway everywhere.
Tomorrow night he is playing in a downtown bar— keyboard-- in his big brother’s pop/jazz band playin’ songs about things more grown-up than he has ever experienced.
I will buy him a Ginger Ale.
I am extremely nervous for him, because I think he is underrehearsed, but he will probably do great just like he did on his Permit test when I thought he hadn’t studied enough.
Every time I tsitter over him he gets annoyed, but in a polite way.
I go out of my way to delight him and it is not hard:
I always stop for a smoothie when we pass “Get Fruity.” I always keep one of those 25 cent gumballs in my pocket for him. I’m always up for a trip to DD. Not even counting the storytelling festival in Tennessee, a roadtrip to Colonial Willamsburg, the water park at Great Wolf, KlezKanada ever year, KlezKamp this year and countless movies and trips to the mall.
I lie and tell him the babytwins were just for him too, but he isn’t buying.
He is the most unknowable of all my children at this moment and I hope that I am doing right by him because he deserves it and I think he is special.
I am hoping that he accepts my help and my love and my advice on his assignments because I was an English Major Goddamit and a professional writer and he should listen to me if he really wants to get into Columbia Goddammit.
He is growing up too fast and I guess that’s why I had this crazy and dangerous urge to write about him.
I miss him.