I Am Proud of You SonYou got up this morning before me. I had left the door to your room open last night so I expected it to be open. It was. But you were not in your bed. I went to the top of the stairs and called down.
"Come up here, please.. I want to see you..."
Leaving my bedroom door open I went in and back into the bathroom, at the side of the sink I sorted out the usual set of my meds; swallowing them with the last swig of my filtered water.
From inside my bathroom I called again, "Oscar come upstairs." This time even louder since I was further away beyond two doorways, some corners before the stairs. Still no answer..
I stood facing my bedroom door, "Oscar! I am calling you!"
Nothing but the sound of the water splashing in the aquarium downstairs in the living room. I finished with getting dressed, straightened the bed, tidying up my bedside table, gathered my phone, glasses and empty water bottle; went downstairs. No response the whole time.
"Oz, where are you?" I called.
"Here at the table" you answered.
You were in the dining room with your papers in front of you. Your Kumon math and reading tutorial homework was complete and waiting for me to grade since last night. You had a pencil in your hand and you were working on a printed page.
"I am doing my homework."
"I was wondering what you were doing. What homework?"
"I have math homework,"and you looked up.
"Oh. You didn't say anything about it yesterday." You didn't respond. You were looking at your worksheet and moving your pencil back and forth between two numbers, figuring something out, it seemed. "Well, I didn't ask either did I?" as I wondered to myself why I had forgotten to ask.
"I just have to do it now," and you turned your eyes back to the page.
"Okay. Then I will get breakfast together so you can eat when you are done. I will eat right away and then check your work while you eat. Okay?"
"Um, sure" and you kept working.
Then we did that. Once we had the dishes in the dishwasher, homework and a lunch bag in your backpack, we went down to my office.
Some pictures of you as a 5 year old were open in Picasa on my screen. I flipped through some. The ones I paused on were ones of you smiling; really smiling. There were pictures of you dancing with your cousins too.
"I don't remember how it felt to be that small," you said wistfully and sighed.
Then you sat down in a chair next to me, flipped the iPad cover open and launched Scribblenauts. I flipped through a few more images from those days and looked over at you while I put my shoes on. You are already at least five-feet two inches tall and told me this morning that you weigh eight-six point four pounds; slender not skinny, handsome and poised with great people skills.
We got up and headed for the door when I paused, "Oscar there's something I want to say to you."
"Okay" you said as you turned and looked me in the eyes.
"You came downstairs this morning and took out your homework and worked on it. You remembered for yourself that you had something to do and you did it. You didn't turn on TV or start playing games. You were responsible for yourself. I am proud of you, Son."
"Thanks" and you smiled.
We scooted out the door into my car and took I-78 up to Basking Ridge. You kept me involved with you and the game all the way there telling me the most dramatic moments. You kept me 'Oh ho-ing' and cheering all the way.
Rolling up to school at the very last minute, I made ready to ask the question I have been asking you ever since preschool: "Who's coming to get you?" while I held your hand until you would ask me, "Who?" and I would answer you -- that has been my way of hanging onto you until the very last moment whenever we part.
This morning, maybe for the first time, it was you who hurriedly asked, "Who's coming to get me!?"
"I Am!" I shouted through a smile as you let the door go from your hand and turned for the teachers waiting to walk in with you. It gave me such a thrill.
You're so much more than bigger than you used to be, Oscar.
You are growing up.