Thursday, March 29, 2012


Kids come into your life when they are born into the family, then they tenderize
your heart so thoroughly you never entirely recover. You dote.

Scottie was the three-year-old who had to sit by his pre-school teacher during music concerts, but music was always and still is, a source of joy for him. He had that innate
sense of music, although he’s not playing right now, being in college and all. I’m hoping
that it’s enough of a soul calling that he goes back to it at some point. He’s a brilliant musician, one who can play the simplest melody and turn it into music. Not
everybody can do that. Do I want him to become a rock star? Not so much, I like the
engineering course he’s on better. But I would like it to become a source of
comfort, self-expression, and creativity at some point. Well, maybe that can happen.

He’s an engineering student, in the trenches where the workload is the worst: hard duty, lots of it. He’s tired, the first time I’ve seen him like that. He’s irritated with how UNFUN it all is. I’d like to reassure him of this: Learning the foundations, the basics of any craft are incredibly difficult. Nobody likes it. But where it gets fun again is where you create things that matter to people. You use everything you learn, all the time, unconsciously, anybody lucky enough to learn important skills and an ever increasing knowledge base. But it is in the creativity and the building of a thing that your joy pills kick in, and you love it. Plus the engineering jokes are great.

He has a playful gene, one that kicked in last summer, when he purchased an aging
sports car on e-Bay for not-too-much money. He had it insured before his folks got
home in the evening. Trouble is this: he used some of his college book money to buy it, in an economy where teenagers were having the teensiest bit of trouble finding summer jobs. Since his folks already had gotten him a great car with fabulous gas mileage, they were somewhat less than enthused about the purchase. I got over it before they did.

My favorite Scott memory: just a week after he turned two, we had Thanksgiving at Steve and Maggie’s house, his folks. Scottie sat beside me in his high chair, an angelic little boy in long golden curls and blue eyes the size of dinner plates. Long eyelashes.
He could reach my right arm and his mashed potatoes. I was wearing an expensive purple jump suit. Scottie had one hand in the potatoes and was using that hand to pat me, over and over again. After dinner, I was covered in potatoes. I ditched the jump suit and kept the memory.