Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fool's Day

As an teacher working in an elementary school, I'm sure I'm joined by thousands like me who were very glad to see this day fell on Saturday this year...a non-school day. This meant we wouldn't have to endure a full day of really lame and ill-timed April Fool's jokes from 5 to 9 year olds.

"Hey Mrs. Calvetti! There's a big dinosaur on your chair! April Fools, I got you!" all said in one breath before even obliging by turning and pretending to be horrified that there was no dinosaur. That kind of thing. If you spend time around young kids, you know exactly what I mean.

I learned yesterday that even having this day fall on a Saturday did not leave me immune from such hijinks. I learned also that can be a good thing.

Our older son has offered many challenges the last two or three years. I won't go into details. It's not important to the story here. Let's just say that the combination of intelligence, talent and absolutely no common sense, plus unknown demons he's fighting, has not made for a happy life in his late teens. Not only do we rarely see him these days, when we do see him, he rarely smiles. Part of the problem.

So last night, as the rest of the family enjoyed watching a DVD in the family room, we could hear him come in after working at the fast food place in the mall all day, a job he's been at for over three years. We figured he'd be out the door shortly to hang out among friends we wish he'd lose, but he came downstairs to say hi and let us know he was home. Since these moments are usually brief, we didn't even stop the DVD.

With dead seriousness, he said, "I just got $700 worth of tickets."

Our hearts were in our throats. Now what?

"Reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. I almost hit someone with my car."

Now the DVD was off. He let us worry for just a few seconds more, then a huge grin, one we haven't seen in probably three years, broke out across his face.

"April Fools!"

After we avoided throttling him, we laughed, too, and then he regaled us with stories of how he pranked his coworkers during the slow hours before closing. He finished off with a story of how he got all the others on the shift to join him in a prank on their boss, a young man originally from Malaysia. Once they'd reassured him this was a joke, he looked at our son and said, "You dead, Coop-ah!"

He was off after that, but we had a glimpse for just a few minutes of the son we know is hiding most of the time. A son who enjoys creating elaborate schemes resulting in big laughs. A son who can convince others of the most outrageous things. A son who, more than one adult has commented, reminded them a bit of Calvin in "Calvin and Hobbes."

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At the moment, I like to think of him as this young man, pursuing a vision for his future through his art, all the while engaging his creative mind to create laughter for others. The April Fool's joke at our expense last night was a glimpse and a hope that once he opens up the tangled path blocking his vision, we'll see more of this young man.


I've done another of those "what kind of..." blogthings that may shed a bit of light on the genetic code my son has been dealt. Interestingly, this one was spot on about me.

Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.


At 8:32 AM, Blogger SageHen said...

Ah, those teenagers are like a ride on the roller coaster. I love the joke and I love the photo. (((hugs))) and high hopes you all wheather this storm together.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Wanda E. Santiago said...

Hey beautiful I hear you loud and clear all my love and if you need someone to talk vent whatever I am here. We can trade stories!! Hugs Wanda

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Amy Sorensen said...

You a former problem teenager, I have to say that this post really struck home with me! I hope your son is able to find his balance in life quickly. And, what a great photo!

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Amy B. said...

ah, good joke. I hope your son finds his identity soon.


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