My wonderful son, who scares me

(A quick note,: I often write to think, which makes my writing rambly, contradictory and circuitous. Why I have decided to make the writing public, I am not sure. But I suspect that it is the not-so-dormant actor in me that must turn everything meaningful into a performance. Just a guess)

My son is amazing. An avid reader, a mad scientist, an out-of-the-box thinker (actually, he does not even know there is a box), and more able to focus on a single idea than any kid I know.

And yet, he scares me because I fear for him. I fear him surviving the obstacles, coming down the pubescent turnpike, that the world will inevitably put in front of him. For he is Different. The kind of Different that spawns geniuses and madmen, and at this juncture, it is so hard to know how to help him navigate towards good, without destroying everything that makes him wonderful to begin with. And good is the wrong word, he is good and I doubt that will change. More appropriate will be strong. How to make him strong enough to be himself when every social cue he will receive is to change.

Let us start with the physical. Gavin has, in the last year, developed a bit of a pot belly. Utterly terrifying to me because my weight has haunted me my entire life, and I do not want that for him. I still wrestle with confidence issues spawned from my chubby youth and I would not wish the kind of social alienation I felt in my early teen years on anyone, much less my son. Of course, there seems to be an easy answer, exercise and eat better. But this is far harder than it appears. He likes video games and books, not running and jumping (and he comes by this honestly, through his father), so any attempt at moving around is met with scorn. And healthy eating, we attempt, but our lives are so busy that without the occasional fast food or pizza, we would not be able to squeeze in sleep. And how do you explain to a seven-year-old that he needs to walk around the block a couple of times because he is fat? I want him to have a positive body image, not bring on the pressure early. Which makes me feel a bit helpless. Watch him get larger, knowing what lies ahead, but not able to do anything to prepare him without making him feel bad about himself.

Then, there is his personality. He is not social. Not anti-social, he likes the concept of friends, and he has several close ones, but he does not go out of his way to interact with people, and seems perfectly content to sit at the computer by himself all day. And breaking him from a game or book to force him to interact with the world is heresy and occasionally met with full on break-downs. The break-downs make him appear immature and already, he gets picked on as a baby, giving him all the more reason to just sit in a corner and read. As my wife said, “Compared to books, real life is a disappointment.” So again, my own experiences rear their ugly head. I had such a difficult time with friends, and was so sure that my friends were there for convenience and not for me that I rarely felt comfortable with people, always worried if my next comment or action would be the thing that would drive them away. This is too much pressure from anyone, and in the case of my friends, a totally unfair assessment of our relationship. But old habits die hard, and sometimes, not at all.

Now, much of my worry comes from an admittedly unfair projection of my life and thoughts onto a much younger person who, physical resemblances aside, is not me. This aspect annoys my wife to no end. But it is too hard to escape, especially being that so many of my issues come from my physical appearance, and Gavin inherited that hook, line, and sinker. He is my mini-me. I try to keep perspective, but with difficulty.

He is a great kid, and I would do anything to keep him from getting hurt, anything expect be the one prepare him for the real world by hurting him first.

So, no answers. Just questions to ponder further.

Any of this make sense?
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About the Author

I moved to India. I mean, why the hell not, right?