Monday, December 19, 2011
Magpie Tales: Where you put your hands (or Teaching middle school boys how to dance)
Things do not always turn out the way we hope. I never developed a mutant power upon reaching puberty, nor did I join the FBI or become the next James Bond and just when I thought I had grasped the direction for my life, it slipped through my fingers, leaving me feeling like a blind man working a jigsaw puzzle by touch with pieces made of broken glass. Not a whole lot of fun, yet...
He knows these things but right now all I want him to get is Over, Under, Around and Through.
Over, Under, Around and
No, no that is too loose, let me show you again and I take it slow, he has never had to tie a tie, relying on mom, but she is not home and it's less hours and more minutes until we have to leave to make it to the dance. Fashionably late he says, and I joke that one day his wife won't put up with that.
Truth be told a week ago he did not want to go, not his scene. Now he hides behind the fact there will be free pizza but I know there is more to it. A girl has caught his eye and...he does not want to talk about it, doesn't want to hear it from brothers and sisters or even me---he just wants it to work itself out.
I release the tie once more and he does a passable job, that still lets him breath while letting everyone know he was the one that tied it. We pressed shirt and pants already, and he's ready. Do you know how to slow dance?
'No, and that scares me a bit,' so I show him where to put his hands, how to hold her with respect and lead, all the while he worried someone will walk in and see, so I let him know my wife is prettier than he is and he laughs, just a little uncomfortable. It's all hypothetical anyway, since there is no girl, according to him and he keeps repeating it as if I might actually believe it.
[CLICK] the necessary picture to share with his mother, and we are off once more through the wet dark silence, and these are moments his dad sits in the shadows, mocking voice echoing around the head room, gone but here. His dad left over a year ago, or better yet they escaped. He did not pick this either and there are days he wonders and days he cries.
It is ok, I tell him, men cry. Men hurt. And this is contradictory to everything he understands but he does.
I remind him once more the meaning of respect and how to make her feel special. He takes it in and reminds me there is no girl. He gives me a fist bump as he steps out the door, then turns back, "Hey, I can't thank you enough."
How we got here, got us here, and here is what we make of it. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes, it is all worth it. Would I change anything? Some days, maybe. Then, though, I might miss out on this.
He crosses the asphalt and she steps from behind a brick column. Their shadows mingle, then her hand finds his and they enter the middle school. I smile, pop the car into drive and join the stream of headlights returning to town.
This is a Magpie Tale, and a true story.
Thanks to all the thoughts and prayers for my gramma yesterday. The break was worse than they thought, both horizontal and vertical. She will have to be immobile for 4 months before they ever consider rehabilitation. But she survived surgery and is still among us. Smiles.