“How do you like that, Mrs. No Head!?”

Since day one, I’ve always known where I stood with Charlie.

One of the most empathetic people I’ve ever known, Charlie can usually read people around him when he wants to, and, if I’m sad or upset, he usually knows and goes out of his way to give me a hug, offer a hand or just ask what’s up. He’s sweet, intuitive, HILARIOUS, and very smart. And I’ve learned that it’s prudent to stay on his good side.

The flip to all that wonderfulness is and always has been that Charlie is also very sensitive and sometimes when I’m throwing kisses, he’s catching arrows. When he was just a little boy, about four and a half years old, he was at the height of his indignation years (tough those when the skills to really talk about things weren’t yet developed). We were at the point when we were washing his mouth out with soap (no judgment, please!) when he would yell at us or say mean words. Smart kid that he was, this one morning when he felt unjustly accused of something, he took to ranting all around the yard, throwing the mother of all tantrums. There wasn’t much I could do but watch and wait, which is what I did. After a while, he came back into the house, drew a picture and threw it at me. In the moment, I was terribly impressed that he was expressing himself in a drawing.

The picture was of me (a body with arms and legs), and when he threw is at me, he said, “There! How do you like that, Mrs. No Head!?” with all the necessary vitriol a four-year old could muster, which, by the way, was quite a lot.

Charlie is 18 today, still the most empathetic young person I know, filled with creativity, humor, intelligence and emotion. I try to steer clear of that intense emotion sometimes, but the love he sends our way is honest and true. Right back at you, Chaz. Happy 18th to our baby boy.

 

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