… on a dear, dear world
April 13, 2014
Number-One-Son-Sam just ate a piece of celery.
Stuffed with bacon.
Because he can, because as of today he is 20.
He has decided, now that the word ‘teen’ doesn’t appear in any part of his stated age, he is now an adult and – and I quote – “now I can do anything I want!”.
I’m hoping he wants to pay his own cell phone bill.
But beyond that, I’m just happy he’s here.
Because Sam was born on a Wednesday in 1994, and Wednesday’s child is full of ‘woe’.
Because of that damned nursery rhyme about the day you were born, that’s why. Allow me to refresh your memory:
Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Thursday’s child has far to go
Friday’s child is loving and giving
Saturday’s child works hard for a living
And a child born on the Sabbath day
Is God’s freakin’ favorite.
Okay, fine. It doesn’t really say that.
It says, “And the child born on the Sabbath day, is bonny and blithe and good and gay.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
But seriously, what the fuh?
Cherubs born on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are set for golden futures based on blessed beginnings.
Wednesday and Thursday kids are totally hosed (and probably destined for a character disorder (or several)).
And, really, Thursday’s kid just has to work a little bit harder than the rest, and he’ll make it.
But Wednesday’s kid?
FULL OF WOE, PEOPLE!
And what does ‘woe’ mean? Well…. let’s look it up.
‘Great sorrow or distress’.
So, let’s recap:
Tuesday’s all grace-y.
Thursday basically gets to rise from the ashes and be congratulated for it.
Everyone loves Friday because of all the loving and giving (plus everyone loves Fridays anyway).
Saturday gets that ‘workin’ hard’ street cred.
And Sunday is totally the teacher’s pet and all blessed and shit.
But, again, Wednesday’s kid?
Full of woe!
So I googled me and John and the kids.
Mac: Monday (fair of face)
Gabe: Friday (loving and giving)
1/2 Kid Jack: (rising phoenix)
John: Sunday (freakin’ favorite)
Me and Sam: Wednesday!
So I have recently decided (as in, when I began typing this sentence) that Sam and I need to rally from this Wednesday thing.
I mean, sure, being born on a Wednesday is a tragedy and everything but I think we can get past it.
It’s going to be hard.
Probably much harder than when Sam survived his birth (remember, doc said he’d probably be still-born), or when he threw a few pulmonary embolisms in the ambulance on the way to Boston…. or when he did the whole seizure and coma thing in sixth grade… or the having to come back from the brain re-jiggering that the seizure caused (after we were told he probably wouldn’t graduate high school, or ever go to college).
Yep. After all that, it’s gonna be the Wednesday’s child thing that knocks him on his ass.
Because of the ‘woe’ part.
Me too, it seems.
So this week Robert Fogarty – the very cool photographer behind the ‘Dear World’ project – unveiled his tribute to Boston (It’s very cool, and you can see it here (get a tissue (or four)) and watch the video). Fogarty takes powerful photos of people with messages written on their bodies in black Sharpie. The people being photographed choose their own messages, they are not pre-determined. He began the project with photos of the people of New Orleans and their ‘Love notes to the city’ (after hurricane Katrina in 2009). He’s done Dear World shoots in many parts of the world where tragedy has struck, and done general shoots at various locations where people line up and wait for hours to have their photo taken. Many people write about being a survivor of disease, overcoming abuse, sticking together, or staying strong. Because everyone has something that they are battling, or that they have overcome (nod to Plato).
And when I watched the video, and the messages from the survivors and others from Boston, I was reminded of a photo I have.
Sam goes to Loyola University down in New Orleans, and Robert Fogarty returned to New Orleans in 2012 to photograph people’s messages to the world, three years after Hurricane Katrina. Sam had been at Loyola for a couple of weeks when he got the e-mail that Fogarty was coming and the students were invited to participate.
Sam called me, knowing I love the Dear World project, and excitedly told me that he was going to go. He wouldn’t tell me what message he would write, if he was lucky enough to have his photo taken.
I was tearing up even thinking about what he might write. He was my three-year old with a ‘super ear’, because his other ear didn’t work. He was my boy who dealt with feeling stupid, and with the cruel kids who told him he wasn’t wrong. This was a kid who worked for hours a night on homework in elementary school. And, after all that work, dealt with the setbacks in learning, and living, after a seizure took away so much of the progress he’d made through his years of work.
Maybe something about overcoming odds? About never giving up?
Would he write something about being different? Having work hard?
Maybe not getting discouraged? Maybe keeping your chin up?
And then the day came where he texted that he was sending me a link to his photo, and I saw it. And I realized that this kid was not struggling to get over what he had lived through. He was already over it. It wasn’t holding him back.
When I talked to him later, he described how he came to decide what to write. He never thought of any of the things I thought of – all of the things a mother’s mind tucks away at her heart’s request.
As they have been since he was a little kid, he has his own messages for the world. This kid is astoundingly great at taking the complex and bringing it to the simple. And touching hearts.
Here is his Dear World photo:
Full of woe, my ass.
Thanks for readin’.
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