“I already know what I’m getting on my report card,” J said.
“Mom, I got three B’s.”
“Excuse me? You got what?”
I was cooking a late dinner in the kitchen and felt my heartbeat thud behind my left ear.
Oh, boy. Here come the tears. And clenched jaws. And fire eyes. And more than that, but I’ll spare you the antics.
“Mom! I’m getting in trouble for a good report card!”
“A good report card? A good report card! It may be good for someone, but it’s not good for you. Not for you.”
Now with veins popping out his neck, his right heel knocking on the kitchen floor, his head banging against the wall and tears pooling at the creases of his mouth, he screeched in an On Golden Pond Katharine Hepburn-like voice: “Mom, you think I’m smarter than I am. I’m just overwhelmed!”
Please allow me to introduce you to my FRESH prince. My son’s intellect is far beyond his years, he’s incredibly charismatic and friendly and athletic and the suavest brother walking. I’m serious. I often lose my breath when I look at him. And I’m not the only one. We can’t go anywhere without young ladies checking him out. He’s a quarterback, a first baseman, a swimmer and a wannabe basketball star (hey, ya can’t win ’em all).
Interesting facts: He’s a grade ahead in school and he’s in the Alpha program. For those of you who aren’t aware, the Alpha program is for gifted students. He can solve an entire Rubik’s cube in 54 seconds. He played cards with his football coaches on New Year’s Eve. Adult men. He’s also won money in community art contests.
He is as sen-si-tive as they come. Whew, buddy. I have no idea where he gets that from. Who me? But sensitivity is a primary trait of gifted children.
After nearly 30 minutes of fighting to get him to stand up, look at me and listen to what I had to say, I finally finished cooking dinner and watched his tears dollop into his hot dogs and mac-n-cheese.
I said: “J, it’s not about the B’s; it’s about being lazy. It’s about not using the gifts that God has given you. Do I put too much pressure on you?”
Then, red eye to red eye, I said: “You’re d.mn right I do.”
Yes, I said a cuss word to a 10-year-old. I’m shaping a king. If I say it, especially with conviction, I mean it.
“Why do I do it, J?”
And then, wheezing from his fit of hypertension, snot now coating the weenies, he mumbled: “’Cuz I’m one of a kind.”
Tears waxed my face instantly. I said: “Say it again. Look at me and say it again. Loud and clear.”
After he said it again with a confident dropdown right eye and pursed lips, we strutted to his room, he crawled under his burnt-orange-colored cover, said prayers and, when I asked his favorite part of the day, what did he say?
“Remembering I’m one of a kind.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is royalty.