All grown up
My baby boy, my first-born, turned 18 this morning at 4:39 a.m. It sounds like such a cliché, but seriously, it feels like I was 18 just a couple of years ago. How on earth can my baby be 18?!
This little apple-cheeked baby:
grew up into this handsome, tall fellow:
When I think of Eric the first word that comes to mind is creative. That’s fitting, of course, for a kid who’s going to be pursuing a Visual Art degree in college. But it’s not just the typical creative things that he pursues (writing and drawing, although he does both and does them very well). He’s creative in his choice of words when he speaks, in his choice of dress, in his choice of interests. This is not a mainstream kid. In fact, this year was the first time since 7th grade that he actually started wearing jeans and t-shirts. Even so, 90% of the time he throws on a customized suit jacket over his t-shirt, to make the look his own.
As a toddler and all through grade school, he was absolutely obsessed with superheroes. His bedroom was decorated in a Superman theme when he was 2 years old and he still has the same colors going. We did eventually pack up all of his Batman, Iron Man and Spiderman toys but if you look carefully, you’ll see a shelf in his room still dedicated to action figures. He’s just changed to video game characters instead.
So over the years his interests have stayed fairly constant…he just upgraded them as he grew older. Superhero action figures gave way to video game action figures. Dressing up in superhero pajamas and Halloween costumes evolved into cosplay, where he designed, sewed and created elaborate outfits that perfectly mimicked outfits worn by the characters in video games and movies. Comic books and Choose Your Own Adventure books were slowly set aside as manga and graphic novels took their place.
His creative mind takes him in tangents – his interest in German techno music fueled his interest in the German language, and he went on to take 3 years of German in high school, excelling to the point where he won an award for his command of the language. Pokemon led to an interest in Japan, which segued into a passion for Japanese pop and rock (J-rock), manga, anime and the Japanese language, which he plans to study in college.
This is not a kid who was ever easy to raise. He’s been challenged by ADHD and his impulsivity has always been a cross for him to bear. I know it’s not been easy for him, being gifted and distracted at the same time. He was the kid that teachers would pull their hair out over, constantly saying that he wasn’t working up to his potential. He persevered though, and I’m proud of him. Even though he struggled to get homework done and do all the ‘busywork’ that junior high and high school required, he always learned and absorbed…his test scores (almost always As and Bs) proved that. He just didn’t learn the way the schools wanted him to.
Eric has always been his own person. He’s not a follow-the-crowd kind of guy, and he endured a lot of grief from other kids who either thought he dressed crazy (and yes, he did for quite a few years!) or talked weird (what are those big words you’re using?!) Happily, as he got older he found people that were willing to take the time to get to know him and realized what a great person he is.
Yeah, I’m prejudiced because I’m his mom. But for every moment that he drove me crazy, he gave another moment full of total joy. I’m glad that he’s 18 and still enjoys hanging out with his mom every now and then. 🙂
Happy birthday, Eric. You’ve turned into a really unique, wonderful young man!