There were times I wasn't sure my son belonged to me. I worried
perhaps there'd been a mix up in maternity, like maybe one of the
nurses held my actual son in her arms, his cherubic mug
illuminating the entire ward, then looked at me and thought, `This
can't be right. Give him the trucker baby!'
My infant son was unlike me in so many ways my friends
insisted we'd adopted.
First, he was gorgeous. Seriously, he was a good-looking
baby. He'd make women swoon in the produce aisle; strangers were
compelled to pick him up and then, as I wrestled him out of their
hands, they'd look at me-an unholy mash-up of Jack Black and Philip
Seymour Hoffman's uglier brother-and refuse to give him
Like they were saving him.
Secondly, his head is huge. I can't take the kid downtown;
people start following us because THEY THINK WE'RE A
Our disparity really becomes clear when I can't take it
any more and I turn to drink. Then my son shows his true nature:
street preacher. Where my inner child is a drug-crazed beer
addicted hobbit, his is an angry, implacable Amish preacher who
will catch me sneaking a PBR in the pantry, raise his bony little
fist and decry "BEER IS DRUGS, DAD!"
I'm not entirely convinced he's mine. I mean, I'm
suspicious, but it's tempered by the still moments, the graceful,
accidental snapshots when he rolls his head into my shoulder and
falls asleep or when he's whispering poop jokes in my ear and then
laughs so hard he pees his pants-these are the hard arguments for
him being mine.
And, yeah, he's cute and he's no fan of beer (yet), but
most of his life is made of these candid instants, these stunning,
high-resolution memories of nothing special, when he's not paying
attention and I know, like some kind of radiant signal pinging
through my brain, without question this is me
The other day I heard him on the back porch, his melodic
voice angelic in its clarity, like a little bell, singing in Latin.
In Latin. I hid in the kitchen trying to stifle a little tear of
pride, trying to take it in, to internalize just how brilliant this
kid is, silently high-fiving nobody, until I couldn't stand it and
asked him what Latin prayer he was singing.
"You're stupid, Dad. It's Dora the Explorer."
So, yeah. He's mine.
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
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