I was all set to post my “Religion and Politics” post when my son said something to me that stopped me in my tracks. He has a presentation to give on a memoir that he’s read. He thought he had it figured out when we realized that he needed to pick another one. As we discussed the options (the school sent home a list), he kept saying “no” to all of them. Finally, he said:
…but mom, I want to be out of the ordinary. I am that kind of person. I think I get that from you.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized the brilliance of what he had just said.
I need to rewind the tape (can I still use that expression?) — My son has been different since the day he was concieved. We were originally told that I probably had a cornual pregnancy – which by the way is the same kind of pregnancy that this woman had…(amazing story). I saw the ultrasound picture myself. The pregnancy appeared to have implanted in the upper left corner of my uterus. The doctor explained that it couldn’t sustain in that location more than a few weeks. The worst part was that it would require surgery which would make it impossible for me to have a baby. We’d been through the wringer…I had already had one ectopic pregnancy and a couple of miscarriages. She said that we’d wait a couple of weeks and do another ultrasound — which I didn’t really understand because once a pregnancy implants, it implants, right? The Dr. said she wasn’t willing to give up just yet. I remember going to lunch with my dear friend and being devastated. She also said that she wasn’t going to give up hope and that I shouldn’t either. Two weeks later, I went back for another ultrasound and there he was….smack in the middle of my uterus. Call it what you want….I call it a miracle.
Nothing was easy after that. I ended up very sick and on bedrest and Jake was born 7 weeks early at only 3 pounds and with a heart defect. That’s another story for another day, but we joke that he couldn’t wait another moment to get out into the world. He also likes to say that he wanted to be born on Constitution Day. Up until that point, I had no idea what day our Constitution was signed. Turns out it was Sept 17th (admit it…you didn’t know either…).
Jake was not an easy baby. In fact, often times, the only way I could get a shower was to sit him in a bouncy seat with classical music playing. I was so grateful for Julie Clark and her Baby Einstein series. Those videos got us through the hardest year of our life.
By the time Jake was 5, he could tell you most of the classical composers by name when shown a picture. He could listen to a piece of music and if he couldn’t tell you the name of the piece, he could at least identify the musical period. I’m telling you this not to brag, but to set up the scenario. You see, Jake was not interested in the same things that your average 4-5 year old was interested in. And, I began to understand that this was going to be an issue as he got older. I began to worry about him. I worried that he would be teased and that he would not have any friends. I worried that people would not “get him” or appreciate him.
And, I worried. And, I worried. And, I have continued to worry for years – knowing all the while that the insecurities are MINE – not his. I tell myself not to project my own feelings on to him, but it is nearly impossible.
And then he said that to me.
…but mom, I want to be out of the ordinary. I am that kind of person.
And, I realized that he actually WANTS to be different. He wants to be out of the ordinary. He probably finds satisfaction in people not “getting him”. And yes. He probably gets that from me. The only difference is that it took me nearly 40 years to feel comfortable enough with myself to not care what other people think. In fact, I still am not quite there. He’s 11 and he is completely comfortable with who he is. And then I laughed though my tears as he walked into his theatre class wearing a Mozart wig. And no, it was not part of a costume. He’s just that kind of person.