"Forrester" Graduated Today - Livin' the Good Life
Jun. 13th, 2013
10:25 pm - "Forrester" Graduated Today
I met Forrest (Steve calls him "Forrester") after he had just turned three years old. He was very fair, very blond and blue-eyed, small for his age, and clearly ready to spend some time with his new friend, Darlene. He came to a co-op meeting with me, and I carried him into the meeting sleeping very comfortably and relaxed in my arms. I remembered how he just melted into me and how endearing that was. I remember how he seemed to be happy to do anything or go anywhere with his new friend. His complete trust struck me as unusual and it somehow made me very much want to be worthy of it.
Little Forrest reminded me of his mother whose personal magnetism was real and palpable. She lit up the room when she walked through it. I could see that he was going to be like that. He had a charming way about him that drew people in. And, like his mother, he was a "social genius". I saw it over and over.
One day I had Forrest at the park when he was about four. There were a few older children playing there, and Forrest went right over to them and tried to engage them. They would have nothing to do with him. They went about their play, and Forrest, undaunted, followed them wherever they went. They didn't exactly tell him to go away, but they carefully ignored him, obviously hoping he would. Forrest just kept following them and observing what they were doing. They kept ignoring. At one point they started digging a large hole in the sand that became so deep that they all could get in it. Forrest watched intently at the edge. Then I heard him say, in as low a voice as he could muster, "I see you are digging a very deep hole." No response. A long pause and then, still in an unnaturally deep voice, "Want some help?" They didn't exactly say yes, but they did allow him slip in. I started talking with another mother for a while, then noticed, to my great surprise and amusement, that one of the kids was carrying Forrest around! He had clearly gotten on the inside of the group. He'd figured out the trick of being included. He spent the rest of our park visit being carried around or having his hand held. He was IN! I couldn't get over his genius for winning these older kids over.
Forrest was an exceptionally cuddly child and loved snuggling with me when it was time for his nap. We'd read a book and he had this endearing habit of gently reaching up into my hair and softly twirling it around his finger. It was very, very sweet. Almost too sweet to bear.
One day, when he was a bit older, he was telling me about his babysitter. I asked him how he liked her, and he answered: "I like her 100%." But, then he was quick to tell me that I was 1000%! He did not need to say that, and I was not asking for or wanting a comparison. I'm not even sure he knew what it meant, but this little social genius was working his magic by saying just the right thing to win my affection. And it worked. Needless to say, I have always had a soft spot for this child.
But, he's a child no longer. I kind of lost touch with him and his mother over the years. But, whenever I would chance to run into him I noticed that he still had that special something.... even as a teenager.
And tonight I attended his graduation from high school. I stopped by his house before the event and observed that this young man is definitely a winner. He stands with excellent posture, with complete confidence and poise. He seems to know just what to say in whatever social situation he finds himself. He is still short, and he was taking a fair amount of ribbing for it from his relentlessly teasing (and tall) uncles. He took it in stride and even good-naturedly gave it back. It was clear that Forrest is comfortable with himself. And for a 17 year old boy, that's impressive.
Forrest, I still have the size 4 pajamas that I kept for you here in case you needed to spend the night unexpectedly. It didn't happen often, but when it did, I treasured the experience of snuggling with you and valued the trust that you so easily gave me to take care of you until your mommy returned. Thank you for that sweet memory.