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Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 15, 2012 || 2:42 am

So, then, uh, my kid is surprising me. That’s what they do, right? They surprise us. Kids are way meta with surprise, even: “I am even surprised that I managed to be surprised again. *boggle*” This is how they make us effectively insane as persons and (at least temporarily) ineffective as parents.

I keep forgetting to tell you that Mathias no longer wants to be Mathias to you. I think I announced this shit on Twitter one day, but I mostly write about myselfabsorbedself and my navelgazey perspective here in this space, so my kids don’t come up most of the time,

(I tell you with a great deal of delight that, ironically, my ‘u’ key is sticking today. This has great hippie-dippy Cosmic MeaningTM, but I am not about giving even two shits about that kind of thing today. Except that I find it funny that the universe is so intent on me not regarding others that ‘you’ becomes ‘yo’. So yeah, fuck you, everybody else, I’m on the Me Wagon for a couple of days.)

and when they do it’s because they are a player in my narrative, a supporting structure to the thinks that get kicked off in my headmeat.

So Mathias chooses to be Nick and I guess I’m cool with that; it’s just hard to adjust my fingers to typing ‘Nick’ rather than ‘Mathias’. Part of it, too, is this: Mathias is my baby. Nick is a nearly-grown person who is in so many ways already a man. It’s astounding, the self-possessed and confident way he already has about him at thirteen. Thirteen is supposed to be the age of awkward and foolish and slapdash. He is none of those things.

And, oh, all the ways in which he is a fine person! I respect my kid. You know, not just because he’s another human, but in the way I would respect another adult. It’s so fucking weird, y’all.

Okay. Nick, everyone. He is Nick. Let us all clasp hands and support one another through this trying change. We can do it, we totally can.

(I am looking at you, Chris. Cheerleaderboy lives on in our hearts and collective weirdo subconscious.)

One day last week there came a great knocking and clanging and it was perplexing, all of this unexpected noise from the center guts of the house. Onceupona, when Sam lived here, there was a perpetual and unending noise rolling through this joint whenever he was home. It ran between a muted guitar riff and the caterwauling of teenaged hysterics, but there was definitely always a ruckus emanating from Sam’s person. He gets this from me. However, in my defense, I am not a constant-ruckus person; I require the balance of silence and introspection in equal shares with my rowdy explosiveness. Sam’s very lowest every-moment setting is a steady rumble.

When Sam moved out, Quiet moved in. Quiet’s first cousin Civilized sat with us at dinner (the absence of beatboxing –which was STRICTLY AGAINST TABLE RULES, but Samuel charmed the pants off of those tedious rule-things constantly– and fart jokes ushers in an instant civility, so strange), the spectre of Mellow floated through everywhere, and this house was just a little off-square for a time. But we got used to the shape of Quiet, the tiny ways he displaced our Samuel’s lingering presence here,  and the coterie of cousins that he was constantly inviting in.

So yes, Quiet apparently stepped out for a latte or a nooner or sommat: Since a great knocking and clanging had not been in the household vernacular for some months and I went to investigate. Nick, who now for all intents and purposes is the shape of a grown man, had moved every stick of furniture in his room save for his massive desk-bookshelves combo. He’d only left that as it was because no other wall was really big enough to accomodate it.

He did a good job of it, too. The new layout made all kinds of sense and brought a cool new energy to his space. After the furniture shuffle, Nick began to remove things from his possession without prejudice and with a great sense of purpose. So far, six boxes of beautiful books have gone to friends in other states. A toybox and two big plastic bins, all slap full of toys, have gone to the thrift. A scooter, a box of jeans and a trash bag full of shirts followed them. Figurines and action figures (*wince*) and most of his Star Wars toys (DARTH VADER HELMET!!1! with voice changer) got the boot. The piggy bank his great-grandmother gave him and the ‘treasure box’ where he kept the special things he called ‘prizes’, these sacred objects, gone. No more lamp shaped like the head of Spider-Man. Goodbye, fish maracas and very awesome glockenspiel. Long-cherished blankies? Pshaw.

He did, however, spare the sock monkeys and his Father’s original Dr. Seuss books; they were boxed and shoved to the back of the closet. I suggested we Sistine Chapel the monkeys all over the ceiling of his room. For about half a second he got an amused-at-the-possibilities glint in his eye, then it passed and he hit me with a firm, decisive “No.” Well, hell. Kid, you are killing the fuck out of me.

But I’m delighted, you know?  His thorough shaking-up of things is brave after a fashion. He’s always been such a firm creature of habit. When we announced our intent to spend Christmas traveling a couple years back, you could see the physical effort he was exerting to hold himself together. There is also the fact that for years and years I was terrified that I was raising a hoarder of the highest magnitude. Every six months would find me in there completely overhauling his room from the ground up, swearingspittingfrothing, and I’d always end up with a minimum of three trash bags full of just utter nonsense and crap that had no business living in his dresser drawers and under his bed. So this whole overhauling his life thing, while sudden and unexpected, is weirdly rad.


My kid asked me for a world map. I found a still-wrapped one for a buck on thrift.

At the end of last year sometime Nick asked me for a gigundo world map to hang in his room. Only a couple months passed before I found one on thrift for a buck (I am amazed at how often this sort of thing occurs). In changing his room around, this giant world map ended up hanging at the head of his bed like a headboard. The kid’s poked little round-headed pins in it: Red pins are places he’s been, green pins are places he wants to go, and blue pins are places he wants to conquer and take over.

So far only Greenland and Iceland are screwed.

7 worked it out »

  1. Chris Robinson 8.15.2012

    I do love how you jump off the page to talk to me directly on occasion. Please let Nick know that I will admire his joyful spirit no matter what he wishes to be called.

     
  2. Dawn B 8.15.2012

    We really need to stop calling my 6′3″-you got a little something there on your lip-man/child “Fluffy”.

     
  3. John 8.16.2012

    Yeah, I’d keep that helmet. In fact, now I want one.

     
  4. Cheryl 8.16.2012

    Good gawd, did you manage to rescue the great-grandmother-given piggy bank?

     
  5. MidLyfeMama 8.16.2012

    GAH. What Cheryl said. SAVE THE BANK. And the Darth helmet.

    I am watching my 5.5 year old morph. It is like he goes to bed a catepillar and wakes up with slightly damp wings that flutter around for a day and suddenly I am living with a new butterfly. Or moth. Depends on the day and his MOOD.

     
  6. Lynne 8.17.2012

    Crying here. CRYING. How beautiful and how terrifying in so many ways. I wish my Mathias/Nick could shake off what has him in its grip, so he can care about doing stuff like this. There is hope. Thank you.

     
  7. the muskrat 8.19.2012

    I have a giant framed map in my office, the one that was in my dad’s office when I used to visit him sometimes back when he wasn’t retired. It’s from 1989. It’s fun to look at places I’d like to go and at all the changes eastern Europe and Africa have undergone. Having pins in it would remind me of “Mask.” Remember that movie? I thought so.

     

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