Boy Wonder

July 8, 2010

The longer I’ve been a mother, the more I side toward Nature in the whole nature-vs-nurture debate. My primary, completely unscientific data are my three children, each with a distinct temperament, each of which was pretty much discernible shortly after birth.

Case in point: my dear Kevin, who turned 15 yesterday. It’s a pleasure and privilege to watch him become more fully who he his.

A remarkable human being in nearly every way, he’s unafraid to throw his arms around me, in front of his teenage friends no less, and say (after planting a kiss on my cheek), “how’s your day going, Mama?”

He’s energetic, empathetic, creative, smart, funny, and plays some mean guitar. Through him, I’ve been able to rediscover the music of my teens, listening to AC/DC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd.  While driving to or from hockey games, we listen to classic rock, quizzing each other on bands and songs. He’s handsome, too — can’t take total credit for that myself, of course.

His wonderful kindergarten teacher enlightened me to his “tactile nature,” which explained his propensity for deliberately bumping people and things, for being unable to fall asleep unless he wrapped himself tightly (“cocooned”) in his covers.  Instead of reprimanding him for not sitting still while trying to read, she had him sit in a bean bag chair or lie on his stomach on the floor, “grounding” his body so his brain could focus on the task at hand.  Brilliant woman!

He’s long possessed leadership qualities, but they’ve become more evident since he — and his friends — have entered their teens. He has no qualms about telling a friend to stop being rude or to clean up his language around younger kids or to wash his own dishes (after the gang has made and devoured a pound of pasta & cheese).

I’m not naive enough to believe that this quality will ensure he makes safe decisions when it comes to alcohol, driving, drugs, and all the other dangers that make a parent’s breath catch in her throat.  But he’s got a strong enough sense of himself that he can say, “Nah, I’m not gonna do that” and not really care what others may think of him. For that, I’m grateful.

He knows how to knit — made a scarf for his 2nd grade teacher, his favorite teacher of all time.  And he’ll even ask me to make and then wear — and be photographed in — his own hat.

Happy birthday, sweet boy!


4 Responses to “Boy Wonder”

  1. Luke Hill Says:

    Lovely. The pictures, the words, the birthday boy/young man. All lovely.

    Without taking sides on the Nature v. Nurture debate, I’ll just make one comment, based on my observations over the years.

    Having been nurtured by Patrick and you, there’s no way to use Kevin’s wonderfulness as evidence for either side of the debate.


  2. deemallon Says:

    I have to say that it’s been a privilege for me, too, to watch Kevin become the person he’s becoming… I can vouch for the fact that your portrait is not just a proud mother speaking… He IS remarkable — We enjoy his energetic, empathetic, creative, smart and funny nature in this house too…. and I would say that in addition to all those wonderful qualities, he is also ‘real’ Kevin’s real. And while I share your belief that kids come out with their personalities and preferences pretty formed, you can take credit for not robbing him of his gifts. Please pass along my birthday wishes to him!


  3. Claire Danaher Says:

    Wow. This is so amazingly beautiful! Kevin will love it, too. I can just imagine him looking at the photo of him in the high chair and saying, “Ohh, I was so cute!”



  4. Karen Seaver Hill Says:

    What a touching profile of Kevin’s nature. I think, sister, you are light on the credit you and Patrick deserve in guiding and supporting such a stellar guy — making the way for him to discover his own way.


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