My second son has always been an impulsive fellow. But it was still a surprise when he announced in mid-August that he and his fiancee had decided to get married on September 20! A. & E. became engaged in February of 2013, and have been a couple since 2009, so it wasn’t exactly a whirlwind romance, but still — a wedding in 6 weeks? I needed time to get my emotions organized.
My second son is my baby. I adopted my stepson earlier this year, so A. became the middle son, but that did not change the fact that he is MY BABY. He was a beautiful baby, born with a full head of curls and blue-gray eyes that never changed color. He was a very strong-willed child, even before he was born! He was supposed to be born on May 12, but took his sweet old time and emerged on May 20th. He did not like nursing. We wrestled for about 4 months, and he won. He refused to color with crayons in kindergarten — all of his drawings were black and white.
He was (and is) very high-spirited and energetic. He’s a human party who changes the entire mood when he enters the room. He’s got a big personality and has helped me in so many ways because of it. I remember a family excursion right after my father died, where everyone was feeling glum. Little A., who was only 3, kept up a lively monologue and cheered up everyone else. Whereas my first son would hide behind my legs when we went to kids’ birthday parties, my second son served as a human shield for me when I had to go to social events and felt shy. I never had to worry about making conversation as long as A. was there.
He had his share of challenges in life. He was very sad when his dad and I split up, but tried to make the best of it, again with his upbeat point of view. He was forced to change schools in 6th grade, when the school where my family had had our children enrolled for ten years decided they couldn’t handle the special needs his learning disability presented (of course this was entirely illegal, but that is a story for another day). He had been friends with some of the kids in his class since daycare, so it was quite harrowing for him to have to start over at a new elementary school 6th grade. But again, he made the best of it. Since he never ever had trouble making friends, he found a way to keep on having fun.
We had a family joke that wherever we went, A. would see someone he knew. That is because he made friends everywhere — in day care, in private school, in elementary school, at summer camp, and even just standing in line. He met a girl at the concession stand at the Oakdale Theater when he and I went to see Mark Knopfler perform, and I ended up having to transport him to Danbury from Hamden for his dates with her (over an hour one way, and then I had to hang around while the date was in progress!).
He always loved the ladies and was a wonderful boyfriend. He made dinner for them, bestowed gifts on them and walked around the house singing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” whenever he was in the throes of romance. He suffered a few broken hearts when some of them treated him callously (I wanted to kill them).
Speaking of broken body parts, I had more experience in the emergency room with A. than with my other sons combined. Broken foot bone, severed thumb tendons, car accidents…but he always apologized and felt so bad that he caused me to be worried or upset.
He was always skilled with his hands, and loved building with Legos. His central auditory processing disorder made school-type learning a challenge, but he is a good example of Howard Gardner’s theory about the seven kinds of intelligence, which stresses that school smarts are not the only measure. My son A. has an amazing mind. He figured out at the age of 10 that all of Dolly the Sheep’s clones would have to be female. He engaged in a very strong and logical argument against the concept of abortion, inspired by thinking about an Egg McMuffin. I am not kidding.
He and I have volatile tempers and we fought A LOT. But we also forgave and forgot quickly. We argued over our differing musical tastes but I loved hearing him play his bass guitar, including a live performance with his band at The Space in Hamden (after months of driving him to band rehearsals). He influenced my purchase of the 1997 Subaru Outback Sport — how? By haranguing me night and day until I finally gave in and bought one.
When he met E., his bride-to-be, I was delighted because she is a feisty, independent, strong-willed young woman. His previous girlfriends had been needy types, always getting hurt feelings and crying for no reason. He used to say, “Are you all right?” every ten seconds, and I was really concerned that his kind heart would lead him to be saddled with a dependent, clingy woman for the rest of his life. But along came E. When he asked her if she was all right, she said, “STOP ASKING ME THAT!” I was certainly smitten with her at that point!
They fight and they make up and that is just their way. I sent him the lyrics to a Cat Stevens song: “I’m looking for a hard-headed woman, one who will make me do my best…” to reinforce how good she is for him. She is a physician assistant and incredibly smart. She GETS him, which is all a mother could ask for her son. He is a manufacturing engineer and incredibly dear to me. On Saturday, I expect to sob with all the mixed feelings a mom has when her baby grows up and starts his own life and family. I am so proud of what he has accomplished and what a fine young man he is. I can’t wait to see what he does next!