My Son is an Orc Dork & Other Exciting Stories

Last week we got to watch our son play cello with his school orchestra in their performing arts center, which was a giant leap from standing in a crowded elementary school gym, listening to both the school band and orchestra. I'm so glad he chose orchestra and from a daily grind perspective, I'm pleased he chose the cello. Having to endure repetitive notes from some of those other high-pitched wind or string instruments...I don't think I could take it. Although I will concede that the viola sounds kinda cool.

For orchestra pieces, they played Sahara Crossing along with a couple of other impressive numbers. Have a listen - it's Ɯbercool and perfectomundo for a budding young cellist. We were then able to watch performances by the two other middle and high school orchestras, allowing us to hear where our orc dork will be heading. You know what they say: if it ain't baroque, don't fix it. Unfortunately, there's a fine line between baroque and broke, if our $40.00 monthly cello rental and soon-to-be private cello tutoring fees are any indication.

The closest I ever came to string as a child was making cat's cradles. And my only acquaintance with musical instruments was playing Mary Had a Little Lamb on my recorder and taking drum lessons from Bob Ego's brother at The Drum Shop on Whyte Ave in Edmonton. Bob was the drummer in Streetheart ( a famous Canadian rock band) at the time. I don't remember his brother's name. And I never did nail the 64th note on my drum pad. But I played percussion with precision, pride and pizazz. I was a boom chick boom boom chick.

Fat lot of good it has ever done me except that I have been able, over the years, to air drum that wicked drum sequence in In the Air Tonight with impressive accuracy, and speaking of air, I have become quite adept at playing the nose sax on dance floors, when the moment has called for it. This is many musical movements removed from our budding young Yo-Yo Ma ma's boy alchemic ability to read, interpret and transform sheet music from sight to sound.

As the Decade Fades
In just a few days, Holy Son turns 11. I accidentally bumped into him last week in the kitchen and had to take a second look because it felt like I ran into a Huskies linebacker. Who was this giant 5 ft. 4 inch, blue-eyed, teenage-wannabee dudester and what was he doing in my kitchen?

More to the point, what happened to our little eggghead (forceps babe), our baby whoa-wah, our meistieman? Time is the greatest of tricksters. One minute you're bathing your bare-assed babe in the sink, the next minute you're having to remind your bare-assed boy that mooning the family in the kitchen is perhaps not the wisest of options, considering that the next door neighbors have full view of his pretty posterior.

Ten years ago today, we were busy planning his first birthday party in Pakistan and desperately searching Islamabad for black string licorice. We planned the party to be a bit of a blow-out event, because we were about to be booted out of the country - a long story involving Nawaz Sharif not wanting to honour a signed joint venture agreement between his predecessor, Bhutto, and zat faymoose Canadiene PM bastaird, his right dishonourable, Mis-yewer Jean Createn. And a rather short bit about Holy Hub's company not realizing that the only way a contract really gets inked in the third world is when a little dirty money gets laundered.

This first birthday party and last big hooplah was hysterical. A dozen or so ex-pat babes from my Moms and Tots group attended, with parents, ayahs and assorted other servants in tow. As I recall, our son was the only one of the bunch who had his sea legs, having recently learned to walk. Holy Hub's boss graciously lent their lawn for the affair, which included hot dogs, chips, a double-sized zoo cake (adorned with a black licorice train track begged, borrowed, stolen from the British commissary) and last but not least, camel rides.
What a difference a decade makes. He still runs around impulsively sticking his fingers into light sockets and deliberately defying me whenever I tell him he can't do something. But we no longer see camels strut past our house enroute back to their villages miles beyond and centuries apart from the city confines of Islamabad.

I have a theory. It's a story I've always stuck to and that is that all that early social conditioning with weekly happy hour at the Canadian Club and having a bevy of Thai beauties ooh and ahh over him throughout his early travels to Thailand has forever shaped and altered him.

He now spends an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror, fiddling with hair products in order to get his hair styled just right. And his cell phone rings off the hook night after night with calls from girls. Pick a girl's name - chances are good it's saved in his contact list.

Two weeks ago, he decided to plan a group date at the local schwanky mall as a public way to be able to hang out with one particular girl he's pretty sweet on. He met up with about 8 girls from school and one of his scout buddies, who ended up bailing on him early afternoon. Having to go from perfume shop to Claire's to Mariposa so that all these tween girls could try on dresses and get the boys' opinions - that was too much for the other boy.

Holy Son, on the other hand, ate the whole thing up in one super big gulp. He was like a metrosexual sheik with a harem that day, trying on men's colognes at Sephora and modeling 'dudes' dress shirts at Hollister while the girls sighed and complimented him profusely. The only low point was when he walked into Zumiez, a skater-type shop, and the kid behind the counter called him a Hollister fag. He heard about the comment after the fact but it didn't bother him overly much because he knew that he looked good in his Hollister shirt and that he looked even better surrounded by a bunch of pretty girls. He chalked it up to jealousy.

And so begins his next decade, which shall be defined largely by image and typecasting, popularity and peer status, athleticism and academic standings.

I'm proud that he's self-confident enough to ignore snide comments. And that he was courageous enough in the midst of his gang of wallflower friends, to ask the girl he likes to dance in public view of all the 6th to 8th graders at the middle school social last month. And that he's brave enough to take the lead role in the Nutcracker again this year, despite not being a dancer and being the only boy in the cast.

And that he never hesitates to step up to the microphone in order to thank a coach or leader on the team or troop's behalf. And that he feels as comfortable playing sports or snowboarding or going on a scout backpacking trip, as he does sitting at the lunchroom table with a bunch of giggling girls. And that he instinctively knows to open doors and say please and thank you, and to do a good turn daily.

But I miss the little guy who impulsively yanked on the dreadlock of the sadhu way back that cold December day in '97 in Kathmandu. Not that he's forgotten the fine art of yanking - his sister's chain sees the bulk of it these days.

Time flies in the blink of an eye. The next time I should happen to glance up, my prodigal son will be looking down upon me in ways too multiple to count.

He's already begged to skip a birthday this year on account of the fact that all his school friends are one full year older than him and he wants to be, too. I want to tell him that I already have my parental seatbelt notched as tight as I can on this whirlwind ride that keeps getting faster and crazier and dizzier and more terrifying with every spin, and that every time I sneak a peek at the top of the track, I'm reminded how precarious this game called mortality really is.

To appease him at his birthday party with friends this weekend, we will put a generic sparkler on his cake and trust that suffices. It will catch up with him when he's 15 though, and his friends are driving while he is not.

As The Whirl'd Turns: Parental Edition. One minute it's Johnson's baby powder and sweet chamber music, the next minute it's defiance, car keys and tuition dues.

Stop the ride. I think I'm going to throw up.


Michael said...

On the surface, this entry of yours is personal, unique, and will never repeat itself.

Just underneath are generic themes we can all relate to. Writing is sometimes more than random scratches on the wall, more than an individual expressing itself.

I'm still not sure if life is a game or a job, a time to play or a time to work, a burden or an unbelievable joy, tragedy or comedy. I do know it changes day to day. Sometimes we seem in control. At other times, we know we're not.

Hey, this entry of yours is encouraging and positive and optimistic. Throw the dart, it says. It may land on the section of the target that says, "move" or "stay" or "loser" or "winner" or it may miss the target altogether and put a hole in your new sheetrock wall.

Some things last forever. We don't. We just burn on as long as we can and as bright as we are able - sparks in the dark.

Waste of fuel? I say NO.

hatrock said...

Listened to the orchestra. WOW! He's sure come a long way in just one year after teaching him Slow Motion Walter, fire engine guy. That G string sounds great!

CresceNet said...
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Jungle Mama said...

Oh, you've given me tears . . .

I can see how fast this time flies by. Oh there goes my English again . . . flies or fly's? Can't figure it out, I'll let you do that ;) It seems we're on the same wave length. Must be the time of year. Two of my babe's have their birthdays this time of year. I can't believe my little spit fire is going to be 5 and my little lady is turning 8. They really are slipping through my fingers, growing from babes to young ladies. I hope they find a guy as great as the one you've raised! He sounds like one in a million. You have every right to be proud.

Lynn said...

What an amazing young man you have! And only turning 11??? He sounds so much more accomplished and mature than anyone near his age in behavior compared to the little hoodlums running around in Libby's classrooms, and she's hit the 12 year mark already. She'd definitely be dialing up his # if she were allowed to call boys yet!

You and Hubby should be so proud of the background you've given him, the values you've set and all you've taught him by word and deed. As heartrending as it is to watch them spring up before your eyes from Babes in Toyland to the Nutcracker Suite, the real beauty of it is in measuring the growth of their souls, seeing how big their hearts have gotten, swelling with pride at the uses to which they put their brains and hands to shape their world and the one around them.

I think I can say you are going to be smiling each time you blink, Holy. Even if you are smiling through your tears.

Natalie said...

I recall my own personal audience of one (myself), driving in my car, and being serenaded by holy son and his cello. I truly was better late than never and both of you cracked me up.
He's quite the good lookin' guy... no wonder he has girls hangin' all over him. I'd take him shopping, any day.
Does this explain your boots? I thought they'd moaned over them... lol!
Happy Birthday to Holy Son and, well, congrats on your laments. They come and they go because, well, let's face it... their butts never look the same after a certain age.
We were measuring our boys the other night. We measure them by where they come to in relation to our boobs. Oldest is now taller than either of our boobs, middle child is still somewhere in the nether regions (and now the shortest), and Dman hits us both squarely in the nipples.
Why... I can remember how he used to wiggle his way in and under our boobies while S and I were hugging. Always the hugwart... he was... while now he really does get in the way of a good hug. Ah... but there's love and hugs enough to go around for all of us. While my boobies gently sag (or weep, however you'd like to define that) HA!

Brenda said...

Boy is he ever going to love you for posting that nude on the rug photo. Holy Son is an inspiration to all young men out there. Sweet blog!

HOLY said...

Michael: it's a game. It's gotta be. That's why I love the game of Life...I can't figure out where reality ends and surreality begins when the two overlap.

Hatrock: He's definitely come a long way baby from - he's going to try out for Honours Orchestra - we'll see where that goes...can't hurt to try.

JM: I'm convinced when you have kids, one of them sneaks behind your back and cranks the clock on fast forward as a prank. What else can explain how the clock spins out of control more now than pre-parenthood?

Lynn: He turned 11 today and while it seems like he's morphing into maturity, more often than not he still exhibits behavior that makes me wonder if I should be marking months rather than years behind that double one age of his.

Nat: Nope - still not allowed to wear the boots out in public with them...

Your boob story reminds me of how I used to get him to tell b's and d's apart - I'd have him stare at his first grade teacher's breasts and imagine a line down the center of her chest - her right schmeeb was the d and her left one was the b. She never caught on to his rude and purpose-driven staring but he never mixed them up after. Of course now he has a thing for boobs...oh well, at least he won't mistake them for doods.

Brenda: He actually let me paste the picture on the net - surprise, surprise but when I threatened to email it to all his gal-pals, he panicked. I think I may have figured out the perfect way for him to obey my every bidding. Mwah ha ha....

Jeri said...

You know - when my sons' bdays come around, they have two different reactions.

My oldest at 18, the dramatic and ever so slightly narcissistic one, loves for me to post his pictures, talk about him, tell his life history. It makes him smile for days.

My youngest at 15, more reserved and, from somewhere, has developed a totally cynical and jaded attitude, wants nothing to do with it. He had conniptions at the thought of me posting any pictures or stories of him online. Baby pictures were the worst offense there...

So, I didn't go into much detail. It's too bad, he was a darling baby!

And, like you, I am in complete awe of their growth, their emerging strong personalities, and the wild talents they develop out of nowhere.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as your son grows. :)

Natalie said...

That's some creative ABC's!

Becca said...

They grow up so fast. What a wonderful tribute to both motherhood and your relationship with your son. Enjoy every moment of it.