School has just begun and the kids are whining about homework. I had some sympathy but not too much. I mean, I have been there and done that. And it is still minor homework. Until? Until they assigned me homework. I was supposed to write an essay about my older son in a million words or less for his English teacher. I am sure I made the English teacher weep a bit with my style of writing. But? Don’t care. He can’t fail me. (I don’t think.) So I thought I would share it with you.
An Essay About My Son by Epstein’s Mother*
This is quite an assignment. Trying to tell you about my son in less than a million words will be a challenge. Seeing as I am a writer, I will do my best to keep it closer to 995,000. (But we all know how wordy we writers can be.)
I know that I am biased, but I have to tell you that son is one of the funniest people I know. Even though I am his mother and have no choice in whether or not he is in my life, I would still choose to be his friend. That boy? He just has the funny!
He is an observer. An observer of life, of people and of situations around him. He does not jump right into the unknown without first taking in the situation. Not to say he cannot be just as impulsive as the next teen. He certainly has that down. (Just ask him to clean his room and you will see his immediate need to jump out of his seat and be occupied by the nearest situation not involving room cleaning.) However, those times when you think he has pulled away or not paying attention, most likely he is assessing the situation around him. He can tell you a lot about the people around him whether or not you were even aware that he was paying attention.
He does tend to keep emotions locked inside at times, but he is good at eventually coming around and opening up and talking. In January 2006 his grandmother passed away. He was as strong as a kid his age could be who had to go through this, but it did take him a while to work it all out. If there was any worry I had about him, it would be that he tends to keep too much inside. I am, however, so thankful that as he is getting older, he is becoming more open and willing to talk freely to me. (We must not speak of this lest it curses the process and we lose the magical “teen who talks to his parent” ritual.)
He is not the type of teen who wants to find the perfect clique of friends to hang out with. He wants to be friends with people he enjoys being around. To him, it does not matter what “group” you belong to or what sports you play (or don’t play). If you are a good person, he wants to be your friend. That is one of those areas that I would love to say I have a part in creating, but it is just who he happens to be. That is just the kind of person he is. Kind and non-judgmental.
He is very protective of the people he cares about. He will go to the ends of the Earth to protect and support his friends. He is fiercely loyal. His little sister is seven years younger than he is and looks to him when she is hurt or upset or just wants a hug from her brother. (We are really planning on cashing in on this as she reaches her dating years!) This year is the perfect example. His younger brother started sixth grade and was nervous. Whereas he would get digs with his brother—as brothers are apt to do—he still made sure that his friends knew who his brother is and that they would respect him. Of course, being an older brother, he would rather sever a limb than let his brother know he is looking out for him. Which brings us back to one simple fact: he is definitely a typical teen. But way cooler!
Now, according to my word count I still have well over 994,000 words left, but I will leave you with this:
He is a good kid. It is just that simple. He is a good person. You are lucky to have him in your class. I am fairly sure his homework won’t always be without errors (though I am sure it will be very close because I am his mother and must say that!) And, I know, he may not be the perfect teen, either. (For which I am deeply thankful because I would be miserable with a perfect kid. All of that endless correcting me would become tiresome!) Even without using the rest of my 994,000+ words, I can tell you something I am absolutely positive about!
You are lucky that you get to know this person. I know I have been!
*) Yes, I did go there. I did pull out a Welcome Back Kotter reference. If you are too young to understand it, please never, ever tell me.
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What a beautiful essay! I want to know him after reading that! I do feel bad for the kids whose parents aren’t writers, though. I think the assignment is genius. First of all, it makes the parents focus on all their child’s good qualities, which I’m sure at times are hard to remember (like when they’ve locked themselves in their room for 2 weeks, only to emerge to eat, and grunt in response to any questions you ask). Second, if the kids read it, (which I think they definately should), it will make them feel great! Though, they won’t admit it for many, many years. Third, it is a great momento to keep and they will treasure it years down the road.
I got this same assignment from my daughter’s English teacher when she was in high school. Hey, I was DONE with school, the nerve!!
But of course, like you I did it. Probably more wordy than your homework but not as eloquent. 🙂
Oh, I snorted coffee when I read “Epstein’s Mother”
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Great essay, really. I got “homework” this week, too, for all THREE boys. What’s up with that–thought grown-ups didn’t have to do homework?
Nice essay form! Strong voice, excellent word choice and organization. Conventions, of course, are excellent. Message strayed into tangents occasionally, which is a common risk in a personal essay such as this.
Aw, heck, what do I know? I only teach fourth grade.
That was a lovely tribute to your son. (So did the teacher get the Kotter reference?)
I’m sure that less than a million words is something he will take with him throughout life.
It’s so nice when a parent can be so taken with their child.
I felt pretty much the same about my son. Still do, as a matter of fact.
What a beautiful essay and a wonderful tribute to your son. I want to meet him now. 🙂 I’ve actually never received homework from a teacher as of yet and I hope it stays that way. It seems I get enough practice helping my kids with theirs.
This made me cry. It was so simple and beautiful. I think its perfect for reading at his wedding and letting his wife know how lucky she is:)
I hope that when my 3rd grader is a teen that I can write something so insightful:)