Just don't tell Scrappy about this post, okay?

Just don’t tell Scrappy about this post, okay?

Alex was born 27 years ago.

Over those years, I’ve called him many things: Alex, Alexander (when he was in trouble), Zander (which he thought was his first middle name for a very long time since I only said it rarely, as in Alex Zander [real middle name] [real last name], get over here right now!), Lex, Lexter, and, my favorite, “My Best.”

I only called him “My Best” in private. It was something as unusual as it was precious; it was something that only he and I understood.

Alex was and is the best I have to offer this world. For two reasons.

I Did My Best Raising Him as a Mother Deprived of Traditional Maternal Instincts

Most of you know I consider myself maternally challenged. His father had plenty of great traditional parenting instincts, though, so Alex survived. I read books, asked for help, and cried a lot with Alex, modeling empathy.

I did my best. And that’s what matters.

So what if I almost jettisoned out of my arms while in a movie theater when he was only one month old? He was sleeping and we went to watch Crocodile Dundee. When that big old crocodile came out of the water, ala Jaws style, I was so startled that I jumped and nearly flung my infant three rows back. His dad held him for the rest of the movie.

Hey, don't judge me, Missy. You're the one bending over in a crocodile-infested river. And if you think that thong is going to save you...well, you're right.

Hey, don’t judge me, Missy, for launching my baby. You’re the one bending over in a crocodile-infested river. And if you think that thong is going to save you…well, you’re right.

So what if, while shopping in the grocery store in Washington, D.C., both his dad and I left our sleeping 5-month old in his stroller in the dairy section while we each went off in different directions to hunt and gather items on the shopping list. Each of us was sure we told the other to stay with Alex. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. We met somewhere in the middle of the store with the shopping cart, but not the stroller and panicked. This time we abandoned the shopping cart and went running around looking for the stroller. We found Alex right where his dad left him (it couldn’t have been me, right?)–near the cheese. I may have grabbed some Muenster cheese just to make it look like I hadn’t just forgotten my son in the dairy section.

The World Needs More Fine Men Like Alex, So He is My Best Contribution to this World

I’m sure most mothers believe her offspring are wonderful people–gifts to humanity in some way. I guess I have at least that much maternal juice in me, because I believe that, too.

Alex was and is always polite, respectful of adults, has a positive attitude (once he’s over his morning grumpiness), never got into any serious trouble (no drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, indiscriminate youthful shenanigans of the juvenile delinquency variety), and has a sensitive side he was never ashamed to express in front of his friends. He loves nature and animals and has a deep sense of social justice. Did I mention he’s plain old smart, too?

Most remarkable, I feel, is Alex’s willingness to speak up and stand up for what he believes is right and moral. He was never afraid to walk his own path–to not go along with the crowd. I admire that about him, especially because I still am one who has a hard time speaking up for fear that I might upset someone. Alex has no such misgivings. But he is aware enough of other people’s feelings to temper his words with good humor and he knows when to change the subject. He reads others well and his intention is never to cause harm.

While this quality may come across as youthful arrogance sometimes, it will only serve him and the world around him well as he matures.

Does Alex walk on water? No! He sinks just like the rest of us. I did say sinks, not stinks. He’s human and has his faults. But he will always be my miracle child, the one special soul who made it through me–the woman who had at least 7 miscarriages. He will always be my best.

I discovered this song a long time ago and the lyrics remind me so much of Alex, the boy (now man) who could only ever travel his own path in his own way. I’m just glad he chose me to travel it with him.

 Happy Birthday, Alex!


Me and My Best. Again, please don't tell Scrappy!

Me and My Best. Again, please don’t tell Scrappy!

For more of my fond memories of being a bungling mother, read the Alex Chronicles, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Think of them as my tip of my hat to Mother’s Day