Thursday afternoon, my son completed the last final exam required to earn his college degree! Congratulations to the Unabomber for hanging tough until he succeeded! It it truly a red letter day.
I believe this signals the conclusion of my minimum required parenting duties. Though I have never doubted my son is superbly capable to do anything he wants in life, I have worried about him since he was a baby. A born athlete, he crawled for a week or two then switched to his natural rate of travel: high speed. Whenever I took him any where - shopping, day care, doctor's office - I had to hold tightly to one of his limbs or maintain a handful of sturdy clothing at all times or he would dart into traffic.
He wrecked every mode of transportation he has ever ridden or driven, starting with a toddler ride toy. He sat on it and pushed with his feet. The seat was maybe four inches off the ground but he found a way to make it dangerous. When he skidded over a large crack in the driveway, he crashed, landing on the point of his chin. Later, when a thin vein of calcification could be felt in his chin, the doctor said my son must have had a hairline fracture.
He rode a skateboard under a car, miraculously without injury. His father almost crushed him letting a car down off a jack. My son fell fifteen feet out of a tree. He skinned half of his face in a spectacular BMX bike wreck. He wrecked his first car in the first week he drove it. He totaled that car on the gravel roads a couple of weeks after it was repaired. He wrecked his second car on the same gravel road. When I saw the way the car was situated in the ditch, I marveled over the power that prevented the car from rolling. (His third car was a 1987 Cadillac - 3000 pounds of heavy metal to keep him firmly on the road.) Needless to say, I have actively and consistently campaigned against my son owning a motorcycle.
Almost from the beginning there were regular phone calls from the school. He was always too busy, too talkative, too much of who is he is to fit quietly and easily into the uniform square pegs the school requires. I always told the school that he has a right to be who he is. Luckily, there were teachers who clearly saw my son, recognized his potential and genuinely liked him. In the classrooms of those good teachers, he was a brilliant student. If any gifted student makes it through the American public school system with any originality, any spark of creativity, any love of learning left, it is thanks to those precious few stellar teachers.
But now, at long last, he is a free man - a college educated free man - an athletic poet with a tremendously creative mind. The only thing he must do now is ENJOY!