(insert pithy rejoinder here)

Why My Kid Is Awesome

Alright people, grab a drink and settle in because we’re going to be here a while. You’re in for some shameless mom bragging ahead. Seriously, I’ve got pictures.

My oldest kid, the seventeen year-old Prince Charming, is good at math. Good enough to figure out all on his own that he had a lot to do with why I never went to college. Recently, with the encouragement and support of fellow bloggers I decided to finally soldier up and do what I’ve always talked about doing; going to school. I know adults go to college all the time, but I can’t begin to express to you how totally out of my comfort zone this is.

Yesterday I got a pep talk from one blogger in particular that I decided to share with my kid. After I finished reading it my kid stood up, walked to his room and came back carrying his football helmet. He pointed to the inside and there, written across a piece of tape was the phrase, “Leadership is action, not position.” This wasn’t the first time I’d seen this written inside his helmet, but until last night I’d forgotten all about it.

My kid has played football every year since he was ten years-old; first in the Pee Wee league and then on into high school. And even though he’s played every position there is, it was the middle linebacker position that seemed the best fit. He held that position for three years before high school.

Then the day came for the high school football team try outs. He wanted that middle linebacker position more than anything and took the field hell-bent on making sure no one out performed him. No one did.

But he didn’t get middle linebacker. The town selectman’s son did. The son who never played a game of football a single day in his life. The son who never showed up to a practice straight and most days didn’t show up at all. The son of the town selectman who approved the budget for the new lights for the football field. A tough lesson for my kid to learn at thirteen.*

Now my kid’s got a temper, so I had a whole speech lined up and ready to give just as soon as I thought he was ready to hear it. But instead of ranting and raving and quitting the team like I thought he would, he wrote “Leadership is action, not position” on a piece of tape, stuck it to the inside of his helmet and without saying a word took the field at left tackle.

Last night I asked him what was going through his mind that first day, and why he didn’t react the way I thought he would. And that’s when my kid said, “After Coach announced the positions I tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t look me in the eye. That’s when I knew for sure he rolled over. So instead of walking I decided to play like I always play, no matter how messed up the reasons were behind it. I take the field to win for myself. It doesn’t matter how you get where you’re going in order to be successful, you just need to play to win. And I’m sure you will too.”

Yeah, I broke my “no cry” rule.

Now here’s some history on why my kid is awesome. I’m warning you, it’s not going to be brief.

  • This is a kid who refused to take the field at the start of a football game because the opposing team couldn’t be bothered to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. He stood his ground until they did it over.
  • This is a kid who got illegally slammed during the playoffs, swore up and down he was fine and refused to leave the field. Later at the hospital we found out he played the last three quarters of the game with two cracked ribs (as a parent I was horrified, but secretly I thought it was pretty badass).**
  • In eighth grade he stood up for some shy girls who were being picked on by some mean girls. Those shy girls, as well as quite a few others banded together and made a fan club in his honor, complete with buttons with his picture on it. You better believe Junior never lets him forget this.
  • He was hand selected by the high school guidance counselor to be the lead peer mentor for an in school program that works with at risk kids.
  • Has grown his hair to donate to the LOCKS OF LOVE charity three times.
  • Was the only junior firefighter mentioned by name and honored in a ceremony by the Fire Chief for setting up a shelter during the ice storm that knocked power out of our region for nearly a month. He was fourteen years old.
  • His volunteer efforts are too numerous to mention and he can often be seen digging out fire hydrants after snow storms or changing tires on the side of the road for little old ladies. No joke. It made the paper.

But life hasn’t been easy for my kid. Despite his best efforts he struggles for grades, and because of his looks was often a target for bullying when he was younger. The bullying quickly faded in high school when boys figured out that wherever there were girls, there was my kid (hence the nickname, Prince Charming).***

  • Despite the fact that my younger son Junior is a living legend in our town, Prince Charming is Junior’s biggest fan and champion and never begrudges him a minute of his uber popularity.
  • When his best friend decided to come out of the closet my kid was the only one who stood by him, and in the process lost many so-called “friends” and invitations to parties because of it. When the friend’s father kicked this boy out, my kid asked if he could live with us. He’s been with us for over a year now.
  • His sophomore year my kid had a girlfriend named Rebekah. After her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer my kid spent every weekend the last month of this man’s life helping out with household chores like chopping wood and working on the family car. My kid was at this man’s home everyday for a week before he died, and delivered his first eulogy at the funeral. He delivered his second a week later when Rebekah was killed in a car accident herself. My kid was fifteen years-old.

With all the craziness that goes on in my day-to-day life it’s all too easy for me to forget just how amazing this kid is. Every decision I’ve made since he was born was to benefit him, so it’s almost impossible for me to imagine a time when I would do something strictly for myself. When I told him this he said, “I’m almost eighteen, which is technically a man, so now you can’t say you didn’t go to school because you had a kid to raise.” Then he handed me an algebra textbook he borrowed from school and said, “Now get to work.”

********************************************

* Ten days after positions were handed out the town selectman’s kid got busted for selling weed. Guess who got middle linebacker after all.

** The best tackle of the day wasn’t made by the opposing team against my kid; it was made by me slamming Junior as he shouted at the top of his lungs from the stands, “HEY KID! YEAH YOU! I SAW WHAT YOU DID TO MY BROTHER EVEN IF THE REF DIDN’T! YOU BETTER GET SOMEONE TO WALK YOU THROUGH THE PARKING LOT ‘CUZ I’M GONNA–” Yeah, that’s when I dropped him.

*** Last year my kid disappeared for about an hour or so every Wednesday night around 7pm. to “take a walk.” I began to get concerned so I flat-out asked him what was going on. Here’s how the conversation went:

KID: “I’m taking tango lessons.”

ME: “Nice try. Should I be worried?”

KID: “I’m serious. I overheard the girls on the dance team say that they were starting tango lessons at the dance academy downtown.”

ME: “Yeah, so?”

KID: “So how many guys do you think are going to join up? I’ll tell you how many. None. Now all those girls are going to need someone to practice dancing with. Think about it.”

Interesting side note, his plan worked so well that he went on to join the dance team officially. His football coaches are NOT happy.

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60 responses

  1. Man, he sounds like an awesome person. YOU have obviously done a bang-up job!

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    • Thanks so much. It helps that I had good raw material.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

  2. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)

    Ok, I’m pretty new to your blog and have not read a lot of your posts, but in this spectacular post I’ve learned several things.
    1) You have an amazing son.
    2) That young man did not become amazing on his own. He learned to be that strong because he has an amazing mother.
    3) You are a woman who can write, and can accomplish whatever she dreams of.

    So, speaking as someone who has been on the teaching side of the desk at many colleges, I want to say you can and should go back to school. I always loved my non-traditional students because they bring with them focus, stories, commitment and a perspective on life that enhances any class discussion. You have the support system (in the form of family and blogging family) to face any challenges, so don’t doubt, just do.

    Lecture over.

    Dr. Lisa

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    • I like your lecture! I hope the lectures in school are as positive.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm

  3. Jonathan Borden

    Absolutely wonderful!

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  4. ellielawson

    I had my twelve year old son read this… and then my seven year old wanted me to read it to him. thank you for sharing and giving me the opportunity to do so with my boys. As an aside, I went to uni as an adult at twenty three and even though ten years later I still haven’t graduated, because I’m unmotivated, lazy and despise deadlines, and also because in Australia you can be enrolled in four different bachelors degrees and defer payment forever, but I’ve become more myself through the process. I’ve also discovered I really hate it… but that at anytime in life we can reroute ourselves and change course, change philosophy, change company and that we are always becoming. In my opinion, failure is wanting to and not trying, not wanting to, trying and failing (or in my case quitting).

    (not that you will – just that it doesn’t even matter – there is no end point at which it is too late to try again, or try something else altogether)

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    • I’m beginning to think it’s probably better that I’m going now. I’ll take the whole education process a lot more seriously than if I’d gone as a kid.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm

  5. You know what I’m thinking.

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    • Yes I do, Mr. “One blogger in particular.”

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      • :)

        Was worried I’d pissed you off.

        Like

        October 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

        • Not at all. I recognize a boot in the ass when I get one. Lord knows I’ve given enough to the kid. :)

          Like

          October 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

  6. What a relief … I thought it was only me that waxed lyrical about her son!

    Continue to enjoy each other …

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  7. You had me at Star Spangled Banner. That’s a man, not a kid.

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    • I agree…right up until he wants to sleep over his girlfriend’s house.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

  8. Hellis, I’d wish you were my mom, if I wasn’t 50 years older than you and didn’t already have an awesome mom. Prince Charming for President in 2032! Get some royalty back in the White House! But then, he’s got too much integrity to be the president.

    Whatever you want to do, write, whatever, a college degree might not be that meaningful or important towards it, so keep that in mind. Think of it as 4 years of getting paid vs. 4 years of paying (longer if you get student loans).

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    • Oh God I can see it now; President Kid pulling back on Secret Service so he can slap foreign dignitaries upside the head and shout his catch phrase, “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU BOY?” whenever they fail to show proper respect to something.

      College for me is definitely a bucket list thing that I’d say falls somewhere around number 4; just below catching a Red Sox game with Sully Erna but above dancing with The Pussycat Dolls.

      Hey, I know the routine. It could totally happen.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    • At first it was more that it was amazing we made this lttile guy. Now that he is older and his personality is really showing through, we do talk about how awesome he is. Especially when I’m talking to my parents who live a few hours away. Conversations with them about DS put his tantrums in perspective when I’m talkin to them about how much he is learning and doing each day.

      Like

      October 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  9. savorthefolly

    You know, I had such a wonderful reaction to the blog, I had all these wonderful warm thoughts going through my head but then as I was rushing down to the comment section to write them down, I saw your and brainrants exchange and I was so distracted by it that now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.

    *shakes head* Well, he sounds like a great kid, and amazing kid and you have so much to be proud of. And I’m also glad that you’re going for it with school maybe especially because it’s so scary to you – and it also sounds like you’ll have tons of support from your son. :)

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    • I’ve recently discovered that the reason I get distracted is because I have ADHD. I know of a good psychotherapist that can give you a definitive diagnosis.

      Yeah, I like to do things that are scary. I’m a roller coaster addict and I’m always the first one off the highest diving board. I figure if I can hold my own in a conversation with John E. about muscle cars I should have no problem with a quantum physics class.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      • savorthefolly

        I couldn’t hold my own on either of those topics so you’re ahead of me there. I think I mentioned the scary part less as a thrill seeker (which you may also be) but more in the sense that it suggested it was important to you in some way – and that you would accomplish something important for your self by facing that fear. Does that make sense?

        Like

        October 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

        • It makes perfect sense, and I like that I come off as being brave in it. I’ve never seen myself as brave; to me being brave implies a choice, like choosing to run into a burning building despite the fact that you have the option to walk away. There really wasn’t much choice involved in what I’ve faced in life, I either did it or I died. It’s funny to me that something as simple as college would seem insurmountable compared to parts of my hellish childhood.

          Ooohh, HELLISH. Just noticed that. Sorry, meds wore off about an hour ago.

          Like

          October 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm

          • savorthefolly

            I would say that each of us has something that feels insurmountable. am I waxing philosophical too much? I can do the wax philosophical thing all day, so please just stop me if I go past your tolerence level.

            sorry you had such a crappy childhood. I got handed a big fat pile of shit myself so I know where you’re coming from.

            Like

            October 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

            • Nope, you’re good. Waxing level still holding.

              I used to let my childhood get to me, but then I decided that all I had to do to raise my kid was the opposite of what was done to me. I think he turned out pretty well, so I don’t regret a single moment of shit I had to go through to get him where he is.

              Like

              October 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

              • savorthefolly

                I think for me it has been realizing that just because my childhood was crap didn’t mean my adulthood had to be crap too – that I could build a good happy adulthood for myself. As for raising children, in many ways I’m just beginning that process so I have a long road ahead of me. Perhaps I will be consulting you for advice if they go through a difficult phase. And then I can say annoying things to my daughters like, “why can’t you be more like hellis’ son?” :)

                Like

                October 12, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      • FYI, quantum is easier and more entertaining than classical physics. Yell if you need help.

        Like

        October 13, 2011 at 10:20 am

  10. Awesome kid, awesome YOU! I totally agree with Dr. Lisa (we Lisa’s think alike, I suppose) and Ellielawson. He obviously has learned a few things through your guidance and love. I also had my 15 1/2 year old son read this blog. He was impressed. He, too, is pretty fearless, and is not afraid to stand up for himself and others. It’s good to see that, since I’m spineless and fearful about so many things, and time just keeps passing by. So yeah, go for it! Follow your passions, your dreams!

    (on a side note, does anyone else get a little creeped out by BrainRants’ pic?? ha)

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    • OH GOD NO! I LOOOOVE THAT PIC! If he ever changes it I’ll spam his blog until he changes it back!

      Thanks for all the kind words. With each comment school seems less scary and more exciting.

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    • *sigh*

      Ok, for the record, that’s a BB shot of this awesome little zombie dude action figure. It’s apparently some collectable “Spawn” thingy, but Dude is my workshop guard. I’m tempted to put an actual pic of me, but that would be more scary.

      Like

      October 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

  11. Ok, so I thought I’d not be so prejudiced against BrainRants and I took a peek at his blog. Too funny! So I apologize…But I still have this weird, somewhat scary, slushy voice in my head when I read his words!

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    • Well that’s because he’s drunk…

      Like

      October 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      • savorthefolly

        laughing…

        Like

        October 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      • Hey, I resemble that remark. But I wasn’t when I made it, for the record.

        Like

        October 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

  12. Damn, I thought I was going to hate Mommy blogs. What are you doing to my brain?
    Les

    Like

    October 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm

  13. Awwwww. Just Awwwwwww. In England prince charming is MINE!! he steps foot into the UK, I will know ;) … Also my dad used to say in rugby, to look at the fans when your loosing “If you can not do it for yourself, do it for them,” this might help you through some hard days :)

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 2:26 am

  14. It is so nice to read about some young guys who are totally awesome. You hear so much about the bad kids and sometimes we forget about the inspirational ones.

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 2:48 am

  15. The world needs more Prince Charmings and Juniors, stat!

    #4 on my bucket list is to own a house in which there is a room with velcro covered interior walls, a trampoline floor and mandatory fuzzy suits.

    Studying is a much better use of your time and brains than my #4.

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 5:11 am

  16. I am a Child and Youth Worker by trade, which means I work with emotionally disturbed children and youth on a daily basis. Seeing a kid like Prince Charming, gives me hope that here are parents out there who know what they’re doing. Awesome kids are byproducts of awesome parents/parent/usually moms. Congratulations on raising a beautiful young man who is making our world a better place! I can only hope my kids will follow his example. Well done….

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

  17. Well, you blew it for yourself. Now no man is going to be the Perfect Guy for you because you raised your son to be the Perfect Guy. (BTW, I think it’s better to say you RAISED an awesome guy than to just say you HAVE one)

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 8:00 am

  18. Your kid is awesome, caring, compassionate, empathetic, self-reliant and fearless. You have done a fabulous job of parenting and I think parenting is the most difficult job there is. College will be a breeze! Seriously, if college is your dream and what you really want to do, you will achieve your dream. Savor the experience.

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

  19. Pingback: Why You Are Awesome « H.E. ELLIS

  20. I’d just like to echo what others have said before me. Your kid sounds like a fine young man and he didn’t get to be that way without your input.

    ‘He’s been with us for over a year now.

    Yup, I can see where your kid got his fine qualities from !!!

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm

  21. He IS awesome. Wow. You’ve got a house full of awesome there, don’t you. Good job on the raising, and encouraging them to be themselves, stick to their guns, and value people.

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

  22. This is such a sweet post- I particularly like the football story. My brother went through a similar experience when he didn’t make his university soccer team due to an injury.. he spent that entire year afterwards training, getting up at 6:00 a.m. to work out, and going to watch every single game and practice.. he never lost faith, and ended up being the MVP of his team the next year. I’ve always been inspired by him for that…. you’re lucky, it sounds like you’ve got a constant source of inspiration in your son!

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm

  23. Can you have your kid postpone getting married until my kid is old enough (like around 30)? He is exactly the type of person I hope my daughter ends up with some day.

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

  24. kat

    You may have answered this in the comments, and I may have missed it . . . what are you going back to school for?

    Good luck with it, and don’t quit! I recently went back to school myself (graduated from high school in 1994) and sometimes it’s hard, but it’s totally worth it. I graduate in December, and I can’t wait.

    Great son, by the way. :)

    Like

    October 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm

  25. sharon

    When are we going to see a Why my daughter is awesome? I saw her at the bus stop this morning and she’s finally grown!

    Like

    October 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    • I’m afraid you won’t. Normally I wouldn’t consult with my ex on anything to do with my blog, but he was adamant that our daughter not be featured the way the boys were. For the record, I asked the boy’s permission before I wrote about them and they were fine with it. Junior actually thinks I need to do more about him. There are certain lines I won’t cross when it comes to the ex, and our daughter is a big one.

      We did agree on a small picture of her in my Death of a Ballerina post, only because she looks exactly like me in it. I think it’s the wicked expression on her face. Totally me.

      Like

      October 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      • savorthefolly

        ‘course I had to go look. she is cute as a button and apparently so are you! :)

        Like

        October 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        • Thanks. She’s even tinier than I was at her age (eleven).

          Like

          October 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  26. Behind every great kid is a great momma. You should take the credit. That is all parenting. I’m just hoping that in ten years I’ll be able to say the same great things about my son. It’s hard to stay tough with them! Good luck with school. If you can raise great kids, you can do anything. ; )

    Like

    October 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  27. Pingback: I See Your Prince Charming and Raise You a Cinderella Wanna-Be | Kayjai's Blog

  28. I am seriously in need of prince charming’s chatter today …

    Like

    October 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

  29. Pingback: The Sins of the Father Revisited | Black Box Warnings

  30. Your son sounds like an amazing person. I remember I always felt so amazed and glad all those ‘tough’ guys in my elementary school were so gentle with their little sisters and guided them around playgrounds whenever they visited despite their reputation.

    Like

    November 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

  31. Pingback: Iconic Interviews – The Book! « H.E. ELLIS

  32. Pingback: Iconic Interviews – The Book! | H.E. ELLIS

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