It was a good first day of the year, yesterday was. I fetched a young ABC scholar just off the bus from the long vacation and brought him and his two ‘brothers’ to Anna’s Taqueria for burritos. Then they helped David carry a desk as the size of an elephant down three flights of stairs in our house. It was bound for our daughter Annie’s place after ‘living’ here for 20-plus years.
I remember carrying this desk UP all those stairs, in 1991, with only one skinny teenager to help me.
“We had to saw off one of its legs,” I told David as we anticipated this job. His take on things? That the skinny teen and I must have approached the task wrong way back in the 90s. So imagine my satisfaction yesterday, when, after turning it every which way, all four of these guys concluded simultaneously that the thing couldn’t POSSIBLY fit out the door of the room it was in… Unless we cut one of its leg off.
Then things got easier, boy. We found the old cut, applied a hacksaw to it, got the leg off and got that desk DOWN the stairs. Well, they did that part while I hustled outside and commanded the five rear seats in my minivan to lie down flat. The next thing you knew that desk was in there.
Getting that major task done AND being thus vindicated felt great – but not as good as what happened to me as with these three guys I sat over my burrito at Anna’s:
A woman stopped at our table on her way toward the door. Her shining face as she leaned down to me made me reach up and take her hand.
“Can I ask you something?” she said.
“Sure!” I replied.
“Were you once a teacher at Somerville High?”
“Yes I was!” I happily admitted and then she told me her name and like magic there she suddenly was in my mind as her 16-year-old self.
She gestured then toward the three young men and asked if they were my sons.
A dozen answers came to my lips but the one I finally came out with felt the most honest:
“They’re … well they’re the sons of my heart,”I said.
And when I think of the things they do for me, like today’s Herculean task, and of all the hours we have spent together talking after seeing a play or movie, or while riding in my car, and how many of their papers and essays I have looked at, eyes peeled for the run-on-sentence, the pronoun that doesn’t agree with its antecedent, the pitfalls you risk falling into with too many adverbs, I realize that they really ARE the sons of my heart, and am so proud that this lovely former student took them for mine.
Here they are now, Tobi Omola, Enderson Naar and Rayvoughn Millings. What great things they will do in the world one day! What great weight they mean to one day carry on all our behalf!