As A Child
i was always a quiet but intensely curious child.
i lived in a world of my own. it was a rich, fascinating, and interesting world, filled with imaginary friends. i loved going to school early, being one of the first in school, walking across the foggy field, dragonfly fishing.
i walked in the elementary school with my head in the clouds. the teachers did a good job of keeping my feet on the ground. idle hands, they say, are the devil’s playground. so my hands were always kept busy, taking things apart, not always successful in putting things back together.
i loved the feeling of dirt on my hands and under my fingernails… the feel of oil covering the gears of a watch… fitting screwdrivers over the right screws… making do with whatever was available, macgyver style, keeping a swiss army knife handy at all times.
graduating from high school, i was called to the guidance counselor’s office. it was a tense moment because i was usually ignored and had not rocked the boat. i am sure the teachers remember me as a quiet and trouble-free boy (why else would they have given me the conduct award?). but i guess they were curious as to why i scored high on the college assessment exam. did they think i cheated? they made me answer a few questions, testing me. realizing that i knew all the answers, i think they were surprised as to how much i knew. this event stuck to me, further reinforcing the shell around me, insulating me from the world.
my eldest boy takes a lot from me.
he is intensely shy, intensely curious. he learns lightning quick, and loves working with his hands. at one time, at a toy store with a table filled with lego pieces, he put together a graceful spanning figure of a bridge. he worked quietly, quickly, and surely. there was another boy beside him, running a monologue about the figure he was working on. he was ignored largely because he talked too much. like his dad, he does not like idle babble. the structure looked like a blocky building, which paled in comparison to the bridge span beside it.
i see him growing up, intense and serious. i see him underestimated, misunderstood, because he will not say the answer (even when he knows it) because he was not called. people will not understand his painful shyness, and i feel the taunts that he will face because of this.
i want him to know that it is okay to come out of the shell once in a while. that his father loves him and understands him, even as the world misinterprets him.
meanwhile, let me see if i can dig up my trusty old swiss army knife… and start having memories together.