“He’s a real banana head,” the doctor who delivered you pronounced right after your birth. You looked more like a “prune” with all those wrinkles; kinda like an aging Dwight Eisenhower or a Winston Churchill, but with a lot more wrinkles.
Today, March 2, 2010, your 18th birthday, you blossomed into a handsome young man, strong of mind and body with a heart as big as the place in which you came from, Cleveland, Ohio.
I remember having to change you, fumbling around, taking you from your birth mother, Angie, in the middle of the night, rocking you, burping you and patting your back. The whole time forgetting to brush my teeth creating such a “yucky” feeling all day.
I nearly broke my arm some months later when I forgot to secure you in a portable “chair” I placed on the bay window-sill. You wriggled out and started to fall to the hard floor below when I dove, hit the dining room floor with my elbow and cushioned your blow in my arms. What a catch. And what an injury. Still feel the pain on days it rains.
First day in school a photographer from our local newspaper captured you in a picture that spread across five of the six columns of the front page. A reporter was doing a story on a classmate who just happened to be standing in line behind you as you were following your first grade teacher into Conshohocken Elementary School. That picture is now framed and displayed in the dining room, not far from the spot I “caught” you some years earlier.
The living room offers visitors a look at a 14-year-old Nicholas hugging his “birth mother,” meeting her for the first time since she permitted us to raise you in March of 1992. You are all smiles, and look comfortable, and seem to be as well-adjusted as a banana mixed with a scoop of ice cream in a banana split.
You became one of a hundred in the photo showing you with other members of Concert Chorus for Montgomery County, displaying your singing talents in Middle School and High School. But, you wanted to become a “rock star,” grew your hair long, learned to play a guitar and formed a band with two girls and two guys with you as a lead singer. Can’t forget the holes in the knee of the jeans you all seem to be wearing in the picture I took.
At 16, you flashed your best smile for a driver’s license, and were lucky to avoid having to pose for a police “mug shot” following the series of car accidents and minor run-ins with the local authorities. I asked myself, why is he following in my footsteps? I found it hard to stay out of trouble, too. And kinda knew it was part of the growing process, the “risk-taking,” the testing of life boundaries at a certain age.
Today, you officially become a man. At least in the eyes of the law.
I love you, and want you to know that you’ll always be my favorite son, What’s that? You say that you’re my only son?
Happy birthday, Nicholas. Here’s dad, proudly smiling at you kid!