Thursday, February 19, 2009

Child Support

My youngest son (who I speak of very often) did a speech at his school this morning. Now, without trying to sound like too much of a douche nozzle, he's been doing speeches/plays since his first year in preschool. He's now in kindergarten (& yes, that's how you spell it, the word is not "kindygarden" or "kinnygarden"). He's never seemed to ever contract a single iota of stage fright. I've never once in (just about) six years seen him nervous, not even when being threatened by a doctor's needle or his angry mom.
*Footnote: We've been inseparable his entire life. We'll come back to that.*

So, today he proudly stood in front of roughly 150 people, big & small, & young & old, & flawlessly recited his speech in honor of Black History Month. Two weeks ago, he recited MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech. At Christmas time, he was in "The Nutcracker". Sorry, I'm bragging.

After his performance, he exited the stage & took his seat. He looked over at me & grinned, as nonchalant as a glass of Kool Aid in the summertime (grape with extra ice). I smiled back & watched the duration of the presentation. On my way out, I stopped to congratulate him on another job well done & he asked me where I was going.

"To take care of some things, I'll see you in a minute."

Kiss on the forehead.

His grimace changed instantly & he started to cry, to my surprise. He doesn't cry very much. He said, tearfully, "what if you miss my other two times?". Of course my retort was proverbial, "you'll be fine kid, just do the great job you just did." But, that had no effect on the waterworks. This wasn't the first time he had multiple performances where I wouldn't be able to attend them all, but normally I come to the last one. I guess there's a first time for everything.

His teacher rounded up her tribe, & we parted, but my mind started flipping while I walked away. He never freaks when it's time to get on stage, a natural spectacle by all definitions. But, when I left, he broke down. How important was it to him that I wouldn't be there for THAT to make him cry, when he's had upwards of 300 people staring at him at a time, while trying to remember a thousand words & maintain a performers composure?

I felt bad, of course, but he'll be all right. I'm raising a man. Point is, my support (or lack of) is the basis of his 5 year old existence. As long as he knows I'm there, he can accomplish anything, even if by accident.

When I taught him to ride a bike, I pushed him & said "You can do it, go, I'll be standing right here". I never realized until now how powerful that scant sentence must have been. But, he sure rode that damn bike to the fence & came back to me.

& then, he fell.

Every major accomplishment he's ever had was done with me in eyesight proximity (remember inseparable? I came back to it). I'm not going to give myself all the credit like I constructed a Frankenstein Baby, but it must have been a lot easier on him knowing that "I" was there. That's power. In the right hands, that power could decide the future, possibly the fate of the world, because hey, you never know.

It's possible that he would do all the things he's done regardless of me around, but I am around, constantly, & in a day & age of such African American progression as President Obama, I like to feel as if my contribution to our race could be viewed as equally as important. Good or bad, all things have a beginning. Who knows where his life is headed.

I'm going to be his father, the best father God wills me to be, regardless of his travels and destination. I'll always be proud & triumphant for his cause because hey, you never know.