Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Favorite Young Man doesn't read my blog, but I'm going to wish him a happy birthday here anyway, because it gives me a chance to brag about him.
I could tell you how high his SAT scores were, or I could tell you how hard he works; but I'd rather tell you how kind hearted he is.
He was and is a very good athlete. At the end of one baseball season when he was in elementary school, the coaches gave trophies to the kid who had the most home runs or was the best at this or that. After they gave out the trophies, one of the coaches told Dr. X in private that FYM had actually won every award, so they gave him the trophy they considered the most prestigious and the other trophies went to the kids in second place. I was glad they spread the awards around.
The following summer I was splashing in the public pool with The Hurricane, when a woman approached me and asked, Aren't you Favorite Young Man's mom?
Yes, I answered.
Well, she said, my son played baseball for the first time this spring and I can't begin to tell you how kind Favorite Young Man was to my son. He helped him learn to play and really encouraged him. He's a great kid.
I felt very grateful that she took the time to tell me about FYM.
FYM became a lifeguard when he was in high school. He worked at the lake in a state park. On the last day the lake was open for public swimming -- Labor Day, and of course it was crowded -- FYM came home without a shirt. All summer he had spent time with a young man who was developmentally disabled and had a job in the park. FYM talked to him and played catch with him. The young man often said he wished he had a lifeguard's shirt. So, on that last day, when work was over, FYM took off his shirt and gave it to the young man.
Yes, he's literally someone who would give you the shirt off his back.
Incidentally, that same day FYM saved a child from drowning. From his seat in the lifeguard's chair, FYM saw the little boy fall, but then get back up, coughing. FYM kept an eye on the boy, whose parents were nowhere in sight. The child fell again, and he didn't get up. FYM pulled the boy out, performed CPR, and radioed a park ranger for help. The parents showed up, and the boy was medivacked out to a children's hospital. He lived because FYM took his job seriously -- even though he had to contend with teenage girls who camped out around his chair and greeted his arrivals and departures with Hi, Cute Lifeguard, and Bye, Cute Lifeguard.
The baby he's holding in this picture is not his, though I wish I had a grandchild.
This little girl is AR, daughter of FYM's friends, RL and LL. LL told me that after AR was born, FYM came to visit her in the hospital. The baby was fussy and LL was so tired. She really needed a nap. FYM took the baby from her and comforted her. LL fell asleep, and when she awoke, FYM was still sitting next to her bed, holding her new baby.
AR is quite the young lady now, but when she started talking, one of her favorite questions was, Where's FYM?
I've often asked that question myself because he's been so busy for so long, playing his trombone during high school in every sort of band -- including a punk ska band called The 13th Tribe -- playing sports, working, being a great big brother to The Hurricane, helping friends who move, babysitting . . . the list goes on and on.
He's done so much for me, and like the lady who came up to me at the pool, I can't begin to tell you how kind Favorite Young Man is.
Thanks for letting me try.
Infinities of love,