"Momma! Wait for me!"
Evan ran across the grassy field in his trademark lope; all elbows and knees, cowlicks and crooked smiles.
"Were you chilly, too? Didn't you want to stay at the park for 20 more minutes with the other kids?"
"Nah. I just wanted to come home with you."
We strolled along the sidewalk towards home. It really HAD cooled off since the sun began its descent beyond the neighborhood's homes and trees. In my haste to check on the kids at the park, I had forgotten to grab a sweatshirt. I reached over to hold his hand and he maniacally tittered; darting from my reach.
"Come on, man! Nobody's watching. Hold my hand for a few minutes and we can talk about our birthday trip to St. Louis."
"No! Don't talk about it."
"What? Why not?"
"I want to be surprised."
"Buuuuuut.... you already know where we're going. And what we're doing."
"Just keep it a secret. Each morning of our trip, don't tell me where we're going. Let's just get in the car and drive and when we get there, then I'll know."
Amazing. This kid is incredible. He craves the excitement of the surprise. Rather than begging for every last detail of our special trip, he wants to keep that feeling of anticipation.
One of his favorite stories is the one I tell of my pregnancy of him and the adventures he went on before we even knew he was on his way...
"Tell me the story, Mama! Tell me about all of the things you did that you're not supposed to do when you're pregnant!"
"Well, I didn't know I was pregnant, Evan! I even took a special test to be sure before Daddy and I went on vacation. You were a little stinker, even back then, because the test said negative. I was disappointed, but Daddy and I decided to make the vacation crazy with all of the activities you're supposed to avoid because we knew we wanted another baby."
He always laughs at this point; he knows this story so well.
"I drank all kinds of wine and mixed drinks at a fancy restaurant with Daddy. We ate shellfish and soft cheese and danced. We rode roller coasters and bumper cars and I went on those crazy-fast waterslides that give you wedgies."
"And what else?!? What else did you do?!?" He can barely contain himself by now.
"And then Daddy and I bungee jumped..."
Right here is where Evan will scream with glee; positive that he has caught me in the biggest Parenting Fail of all time.
Happily pointing his finger at my nose,
"You BUNGEE JUMPED when you were pregnant!! You are NOT supposed to do that, Mommy!"
"I know, Evan. But we didn't know you were there! Thankfully, everything was ok because here you are today and you're fairly normal!"
And here is where Evan ALWAYS, always, always makes sure to thoughtfully proclaim,
"Well, that must be why I like roller coasters and king crab so much."
I often think back to his precarious beginning at Life; thrown about in my womb in a sloshing vat of Apple martinis and poorly cooked shellfish. I marvel that we could have missed out on such an astounding person.
Evan is that kid who just gets how a joke is supposed to be delivered, you know? He understands timing and people and has the quickest wit imaginable. (Though he's been known to use this power for evil, he actually has an enormous and tender heart.) He also has a need for adrenaline and adventure that I readily attribute to his early days of Life.
So it shouldn't have come as any surprise when, during our field trip to the aviation museum in Bolingbrook, the guide asked who wanted to ride in the Ultralite airplane (i.e. basically, a lawnmower engine welded to some metal bars, wings and a seat that you strap in with a lap belt I KID YOU NOT) my son's hand went straight into the air.
"It's kind of a bad word..." (he loves trying to shock me with "bad words")
"I've heard bad words before, Evan."
"Well, I gripped the sides of the seat with my hands, and all I could think was 'Oh Shit!' But then we were in the air and I stopped swearing in my head because it was so AWESOME!"
I wouldn't change a thing about him.
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