Making a Man

P7086656This is a page out of a scrapbook I made for Adam. (the entire album is in the column on the left - titled: Adam's ABC Book)

It tells the story of The Splinter.

Here's how it goes:

Adam played lacrosse in the 8th grade. Lacrosse is like ice hockey but without the ice and much more violent. In other words, a blood sport. =(

After his very first game, he complained that his umm... bottom was hurting.  Compassionate mother that I've always been, I say, "well, of course it's hurting, you idiot, you've been beating each other to a pulp on the field for the past two hours - duh!" ;-)
He continued to complain and no, I didn't let him stay home from school. Still he kept complaining.
Adam and I differ on this part of the story. He insists that I allowed him to suffer for three whole days. I am sure my tolerance for his whining wore me down by day two.

Anyway, there was some bruising in one particular spot, so I took him to the doctor the day after the game.  The doctor pulled out a one and a half inch SPLINTER from his butt. He had gotten it lodged not during the blood sport, but sliding into the bench at the pizza parlor afterwards!  (no sympathy)

That's when the fun began. I had my camera with me in the doctor's office and documented the occasion and the doctor was gracious enough to put the offending splinter into a little envelope for me. 
Here's the kicker - I kept it.
Yep. I kept that splinter in a safe place and with the photos nearby knowing that one day I would tell The Splinter Story in a scrapbook.
I think he was the MVP that season. And I think he made the all-star team, too. The point is that The Splinter made the Family Story Hall of Fame. The punchline is that the evidence is there. The cold hard evidence of his pain and embarrassment. Documented and forever enshrined in a plastic envelope. He's secretly proud of all this. That I took pictures, that I kept the splinter, that I scrapbooked about it.

He pretends to be indignant as he shows it off, with a question that sounds something like this: 'What kind of mother would ignore her child's complaints of excruciating pain, and then subject him to this kind of humiliation?"    

To which I counter: "What kind of cool mom not only saves the splinter and takes pictures of the operation, but forever enshrines the moment in your scrapbook?" 

This story perfectly illustrates my relationship with my son. 

He pretends I embarrass the life out of him and that he's much more evolved than I am. He "puts up" with his mother's idiosyncrasies.  He kind of rolls his eyes as he tells about the kinds of things I do for him. He shows friends around our home and I hear him explaining about the writing on the walls and the stories behind my choices in decoration.  He points to his framed baby shoes and laughs as he tells them how silly I am.  He complains that I made him learn how to cook.  But in his voice I hear the unmistakable sound of Pride.

P7086648 I've written before about how my son makes me crazy. Of my four kids, he has been the most challenging to raise. (Amy says it's because he's the most like me. =D)  He is the one I have spent the most time talking to God about. But I know I make him just as crazy. I have stayed in his face when it would have been easier to give up. He hated that. Or maybe he loved it?  In either case, my primary goal was to raise a Good Man.

If you met Adam, you would want him for a friend.  He is fun and caring. Witty. Personable. Stubborn.  Smart.  Always the life of the party.  Always ready to lend a hand. 

Adam is twenty-one today and I can honestly say he's a Good Man.
(and he totally looks better clean-shaven, doesn't he?)

Happy Birthday, Monkey Boy! I love you and I'm very proud of the man you have become.