He awakens to a troubled mind.
Troubled by the things he will face today.
Troubled by the ones who judge him not by his actions or his intellect or his ability, but by the difference between him and everyone he is not like.
Troubled by the struggle he believes is his alone.
He rolls out of bed, his direction as unsteady as his gait as he makes his way to the shower.
Oh The shower.
Who knew that a young man, a boy to me, could actually take 45 minutes to wash every single one of his “Lever 2000” body parts. I’m fairly certain I don’t have nearly that many. Not anymore anyway.
We race around the house now, wondering if TODAY we will beat that tardy bell I’ve been chasing for 37 long, late years now.
We scurry and speed.
Hasty breakfast – in the car.
Get your shoes on! – in the car.
Check homework and agenda – in the car.
Comb your hair! – in the car.
Deodorant on – in the car.
Brush your teeth – in the car.
Spit out the toothpaste – in the “NO! Not out the Window eith-… In my coffee cup?!”
It’s green and gray and a little minty now. Perfect.
All that great effort to compensate for a total deficit in the ability to wake up and actually function.
Well, that and the too many distracted moments yesterday that made us go to bed too late.
Or maybe it’s the way time, which is a constant for most folks, seems to move in bursts for us.
He gathers his things and tumbles out of the car.
“I love you too” as he sends his crooked half grin like a lightening bolt to my heart.
His head a little tilted,
his jeans sagging,
his eyes taking in everything around him.
He is curious, expectant even.
He is hopeful.
Today he just might be like everyone else.
Maybe today, nobody will scold his passion or inventiveness.
His teachers tell him he is “different”, “troubled” “trouble” “lazy” “doesn’t apply himself”.
They don’t know him.
He IS different but not the way they think.
He can look right at his teacher as she mouths meaningless words and see beyond that to her meaningless heart.
He will notice the kid who is sad because he has no friends.
He knows that one alright.
He might not remember that formula but he understands WHY those two trains leaving different cities, traveling at different velocities will converge in another city so John can run into Susan’s arms at the station and live happily ever after.
Because while everyone else is multiplying and dividing distance over time, scratching their heads and scribbling their scratch paper, he wonders who else is on the train; and who is waiting for THEM at the station.
Will that sad little boy see his father for the first time in months?
Will the teacher see her long forgotten student and recognize him?
Will that scraggly young man finally come home and be welcomed back?
Will the middle-aged balding man find new life after his ruined former life?
See he IS different, but not because he is unaware, no, because he is MORE aware.
He feels more.
He sees more.
He memorizes fewer facts but has deeper thoughts.
He is not lazy, oh no, in fact he thinks a thousand scrambled thoughts while everyone else struggles with only one.
It’s not that he doesn’t apply himself.
He does; just not to the mundane task they require him to complete.
The world he sees is a little different than most see.
The judges and the judged can never see through the same eyes.
It just doesn’t work that way.
They can never accept nor understand WHO he is because they are entirely too busy printing their label to tell him WHAT he is.
So they judge.
And they determined that he needs help to become everyone else.
It must be much simpler to teach everyone the same lesson the same way.
They quash creativity and quell the fire in their humble subjects.
They break down children so they can reform them from their perfection into perfect images of themselves.
They would eradicate the eager, stifle the spirit, extinguish the excited, annihilate active minds, and they are killing him a little more every day.
And so he takes his little blue and white extended release “conformity” so that for the next six to eight-hour half-life, he can deliver what is demanded but he refuses to forsake who he is.
He will always, even when “properly chemically balanced”, ALWAYS be himself.
He is brilliant.
He is careful with everyone.
He is love.
He is deep.
He is creative.
He is thoughtful.
He is wonderful and wondrous.
He is strong.
He is my hero.
He is my son.
And when I look at him I am proud to be his daddy.
Oh, and if I wandered around a little during this, remember THIS.
HE IS MY SON.
Jaime Gori, a guest writer for Love, Laughter, Life & Laundry, is a single dad of two and quite the modern-day “Renaissance Man”.