by Kari Diane Pike
Saturday morning I had the rare opportunity of spending an entire one-on-one day with my thirteen-year-old son, Levi. The original plan involved mowing the lawn and prepping the garden, but when we woke up to three inches of the frozen white stuff covering the ground, plans obviously had to change. I felt a bit annoyed that my intentions to teach my son about work and effort and goals seemed to be thwarted. My husband was out of town with the car, and pay day wasn't for another week, so whatever we did had to be without purse or scrip and couldn't require transportation other than our own two legs.
We finally decided we would take a walk to the local library. A stinging wind brightened our cheeks and encouraged us to hurry our steps, but time seemed to warp during our walk. Levi chatted about school and the musical production they were putting on. I asked if he enjoyed taking musical theater and would he like to participate in another production. He said,
"I am really glad I took musical theater. I learned a lot, and I think I am a lot better at speaking in public, but one of the things I learned is that I never want to do it again! Next year, I want to be back in the pit."
It suddenly occurred to me that Levi has never enjoyed being the center of attention in a large crowd. One year his entire soccer team greeted him with a happy birthday song during practice. Levi turned tail and ran! He is such a gifted young man, it is difficult to understand how he can be so shy. I had not given a second thought to how much courage it took for Levi to sign up for that musical theater class in the first place.
On the way home, I asked Levi where his interests were taking him now that the school year is nearly over. He used to be fascinated by airplanes and astronomy. I've seen him reading articles on the internet ranging from how to program computers to what insider trading means. Levi's eyes lit up (or is that lighted up?) as he turned to face me, walking backwards as he went.
"Mom, I think I'm a lot like you. I like to learn about stuff for awhile, and then something new comes along and I want to know about that, too! Micaela and I talk about 'remember when Mom did such and such...and then she did this other thing?' Yeah, well there is just so much to learn about in the world! I want to know it all." Then he launched into how he wants to invent new means of transportation and alternative energy sources.
The walk home was far too short. When did my baby grow up? Oh, did I mention how he carried my library books home for me? He had already read what our little library has to offer in the way of science and technology (including books from which he memorized the periodic table). He just went with me so that I didn't have to go by myself and because he wanted to spend time with me.
This morning I lingered in bed a few extra minutes listening to Levi practice his cello. He will be awesome in the pit next year. Who gets up at 5:45 am to practice the cello? Then it hit me. That book I want to write would probably get written a lot faster if I would get up before 6:00 am and actually write something. Who knew how much I would learn from a thirteen-year-old? I have never been so grateful for snow on the last day of April.