I’ve noticed that Max now reads the NY Times (usually just the front pages of those sections that interest him — from what I can tell). He scoffs and talks back to the paper from time to time. This is just like Scott.
Max has taken to woodworking and can be found during his off hours (sometimes next to Scott, sometimes alone) planing a piece of cherry wood. Back and forth he glides the hand plane across the surface of the wood slab; curled shavings begin to pile up on the garage floor by his sneaker clad feet. Now, when I can’t find Max and I’ve asked after his whereabouts, I’m likely to hear, “Oh. He’s in the garage/work shop.” This is just like Scott.
When something so ridiculous or egregious has occurred within the “Sphere of Max,” (often inflicted by a sibling or his mother) he tilts his head back, lifts his chin and rolls his eyes upward to the heavens. This is just like Scott.
Max carefully takes apart some mechanism or employs a screwdriver or hand drill with the precise and careful fingers of a surgeon. He rarely reads the directions and instinctively knows what must happen and in what order the parts must be placed to build..to fix…to hang. This is just like Scott.
Once in a while, I’m able to cast a side-long glance (that remains gracefully hidden and undetected) of my ever growing man-son who lives in our home for but a few years more. He will lope up and down and all around the place with his long legs. He will harrumph and guffaw with his changing, cracking voice. He will burst into laughter, his head thrown back for emphasis, then settling into a subtle shake of the head from side to side in disbelief at the outlandish thing that has just set him off. The two of them, father and son, trade Seinfeld episode re-tells, picking the same ones to repeat, laughing again and again at the same details, and in the same places.
I might catch a glimpse of my young-man-son as he looks down at his laptop, which rests on the edge of the kitchen island, while he researches the directions for some place he wants to go, an item he wants to buy, a new hobby that’s suddenly taken hold. His chin is bent down while his eyes flit across the computer screen, absorbing the information at a rapid pace. There might be a slight frown of concentration that wrinkles the brow, a mere nod of the head as something is checked and then confirmed. The long fingers maneuver the mouse and then move toward the computer keyboard, to tap the keys gently, as if plunking a simple melody on the piano. This is just like Scott.
And when I am in an uproar about one thing or another, Max can often be heard saying…to me…quietly…tentatively, “Mom you have to calm down.” This is just like Scott.
The boy becomes a teenager…a young man…an adult…an older man. How many more “Just Like Scott” moments will I get in this lifetime? Not enough, surely, and if my memory begins to go in the years to come, which, of all these pictures and details along this most treasured father-and-son trail, will I lose? This idea frightens me. But if I write it, maybe I will remember it. So, I watch attentively…I stockpile the details like a frantic squirrel storing acorns before winter sets in…and I try to savor the memories made each day…on that day. I try.