I am going to talk about my son
for just a moment. Bear with me.
R. was magnificent in the kitchen
Thursday evening. I had many reservations
about hosting a sit-down dinner for 22 friends
the week before Christmas, the week before
my wedding. (I'm also in the middle of packing.)
But he persisted. He rarely asks for anything.
So I went forward on faith, and the payoff was
beyond any dollar amount imaginable. A bit of history:
this young man suffered debilitating seizures as a toddler;
he missed entire developmental stages.
We were reduced to experimental drug therapies
after the traditional methods failed, and were
ultimately successful. Then followed years of
therapy. At four, after two years of seizures
and intense medical intervention, he began to learn
to talk again. At eight years of age, he gradually
withdrew from all medication, and has been seizure-free
since. But he emerged from all this as a unique
individual, with challenges the rest of us would
take for granted. The death of his father four years
ago was an unfathomable blow, and he's moved forward
in his life since then at a slow and jagged pace.
The Culinary Arts Program at South Seattle Community
College has been a marvelous home for him these
past two years. He doesn't cook at my house often enough
for my taste, so seeing him in his element cranking
out dinner for 22 in my less-than-adequate kitchen
was like, oh, perhaps seeing one's son step forward
to receive a diploma from, say, Harvard. He was efficient,
professional, poised, organized, wildly creative, humble
(unlike his mother!) And he was smiling. It's been so long
since I've seen that. Planning and preparing the house
for this event and shopping for the ingredients
was something for which I had no time. There were
moments when I considered calling the whole thing off.
I was sick for the four days prior and nearly reduced
to tears more than once. But he kept assuring me
that we could do this, and I trusted him, and what
transpired was perhaps the best evening of my life:
three long tables stretched the length of my living room,
dozens of candles down the center, cedar greens and
holly branches and vases of red tulips. The only light
from the tree and the candles. Twenty-one of the best friends
(mostly neighbors, one fiance, two sons) imaginable.
R. received a standing ovation. I stand up
and applaud my handsome and magnificent son.