-Posted by Isaac
It’s been a week of messing around with wood.
The fence building continues, and when the weather finally turned, we made lots of entrance reducers for bee pallets.
Let me tell you, a little warmth sure makes things more enjoyable.
On hump day we had the week’s most momentous event.
My Baby turned five on March 4th (Talk about a fitting date.) And two days later, Mason turned 11. Cakes were made, compliments of our lovely and multitalented Katie in the honey house.
It’s extremely easy to find great pics of Eden. My Baby can ham it up.
She’s gregarious and lovable. A strong personality, a small body, a big smile. Pictures come naturally. Especially if you capture one baby with another. You’ve got a winner.
But Mason, our oldest, is quite the opposite. Introverted and quiet, broody, somewhat awkward, a weird sense of humor, a cool, standoffish demeanor. Not unpleasant, but definitely not magnetic.
He’s got very little interest in baby animals, or the world beyond, and absolutely zero interest in what his dad does. This could change of course, but for now, he prefers to live in his own world.
He reminds me of the 11-year-old me.
“Smile Mason… it makes you feel good!”
Every Tuesday and Thursday I drop him off at Musical Mustangs, a hour before school. It’s always a very quiet ride. I have a lot to say, and usually pummel him with questions for the first minute or two. Then I give up, and feeling frustrated, turn on the NPR news… might as well overdose with frustration.
Mason wants to arrive ten minutes early so he can read a book.
He’s a big reader. Of Captain Underpants.
Here he is getting all psyched up about his big game on Saturday—
I’ve had the ‘joy’ of assistant coaching his basketball team for two years in a row. It’s almost comical how little he cares about the sport… and how good he is. He can easily hang with the other kids when he decides to. It’s just that the deciding to try, to be normal, is somewhat of an intermittent thing.
Much like Melville’s Bartleby, the mantra of his life seems to be, “I would prefer not to.”
He ignores people. He’s unaware. And he simply refuses to suffer fools gladly. I love him so much. Like I said, I see so much of me in him. I think about my own teens and twenties and I realize he’s coming up on a tough couple of hard-knock decades. At 11, the kid years start to fade away. If you want to make it a smoother ride, you’ve got to learn to fake it. To be agreeable. You’ve got to take some social cues. Nod and pretend to listen to a coach. Smile and say hello to a classmate. Look an adult in the eyes. Learn how to hold a fork… There are so many things! I’ve tried, believe me. It seems to fall on deaf ears. Or am I one of the fools he refuses to suffer gladly?
I was thinking about all this, and an old Cat Stevens song came to mind.
There are two lines in that song that really hit home. Well, maybe three. I had to laugh about the “Find a girl, settle down…” Mason, following my own trajectory, won’t even know what a girl is until he’s in his twenties. He’ll then go through about a decade of awkward heartache until someone takes pity on him. Then maybe he’ll settle down, like his old man.
The obvious line was, “How can I try to explain, when I do, he turns away again.” I feel this almost daily with my son. And I wonder if it was the same with my own father? My dad took took to calling me ‘the professor’, due to my hair-brained, bookwormish and spacey way of going about things. I was never sure of what to think of that. Is it a compliment? Or an insult? I never asked, I ignored it. Like the song says, I turned away.
Another line that got me was, “You will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.” What exactly Cat Stevens was getting at, I don’t know. But I took it as… Hey buddy, you better adjust, you better learn to fake it, or your future opportunities will tend to limit themselves. I know this all too well. Like me, it’s looking like Mason will have a hard time of it.
Society welcomes the well-adjusted. And even those born somewhat ill-suited to the world seem to learn to fake it. They adjust. The teachers, the preachers, the lawyers, doctors, nurses, dentists, sales people, bartenders, barbers, mechanics, etc.. They all have to smile and be nice. They all put up with fools. Some even relish it— look how many people spend their day on Facebook.
It makes me sad and happy at the same time. Thinking about Mason. I both worry and rejoice. He’s a little me! Instead of winking, I tend to sigh and say, ‘He’s a chip off the old block.’ Then I laugh. I love it!
I probably worry too much. He’ll find his way. Here he is just a few days ago— soloing at the Musical Mustangs concert!
Talent and brains and enormous potential hide under that thick, awkward shell. And, you never know, maybe he won’t even need to learn to fake it. He may just wind up a beekeeper.