The Oldest

28 Nov

Curly Top MohawkI am getting ready to part with the first computer I ever bought for myself. It is an iMac desktop with a built in camera – the first of its kind. Readying for our parting includes a nostalgic review of files on the hard drive. I have a folder dedicated to letters I wrote to my oldest son about his lack of attention to his grades, his chores, and other people’s feelings. As I review them, I am transported back to the agonizing days of his teen-aged years.

He was moody and hard-headed and funny as hell. While he was never in real trouble, he pushed us to the limits of our parenting skills. I often say that first kid is like the first pancake, you should just toss it out and bank on the second one being better. When he was a baby, my husband and I took a job as “professional parents” at a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescent boys, so our bar was pretty low in retrospect. Don’t burn down anything, steal anything, shoot anyone, and it will probably be okay. When Aaron was in 11th grade, he was really struggling with some anxiety issues and he had locked himself into an identity as a proud under-achiever. The problem was he wanted to go to college, and he knew all those applications would include transcript requests. He buried all his worries way down into his lower lumbar region resulting in wrenching lower back pain. During a bad episode I finally took him to the ER at Duke. After the CT scan, we were asked to sit down in the consulting room – never a good sign.  Turns out, not only did he not have a kidney stone, he did not have a kidney.  Yep, my perfect baby, who according to an ultrasound at 32 weeks gestation had all his vital organs, had manage to lose it by the age of 17.  It was baffling, and unimportant according to the doctors.  Ten percent of the population has only one and most never know.

Last Christmas, we  were visiting with relatives and recounting the head-spinning tale.  “So what happened to his kidney?” my sister-in-law exclaimed. Just when my husband was ready to deliver his punchline (he had cooked up several funny explanations about how Aaron had left it in his locker, his book bag or it was with his socks which had all become singles after being pairs), Aaron walked by.  In complete deadpan, Aaron says, “My parents sold it on the internet.”   I knew then he would be just fine.

One Response to “The Oldest”

  1. Lynn McGee November 29, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Now THAT’S funny!! I love reading your blogs in the morning. They put life in perspective!

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