Monday, October 10

Danny Boy

That's what his father called him sometimes, but he was the only one who was allowed to do that. To the rest of us, he's just been Daniel and never even Dan. If you were his friend from school and you called here asking for Dan, you might even be told you had the wrong number, because no one here connects that name with the youngest member of our family.

He's been gone to Kelowna this weekend. He left with his volleyball team on Wednesday morning for a tournament there, and I'll pick him up from the airport this afternoon.

He didn't phone home once. I knew before he left that there'd be no phone call unless it was from the hospital. That's the difference between boys and girls. Boys only phone home if they're in trouble or they need a ride. Girls phone home to tell you what they ate for breakfast.

I rearranged his room while he was gone. He's been wanting to rearrange it, but we haven't been able to set aside time when we both could work on it, so he gave me permission to do it while he was gone. The purpose for the furniture rearrangement was to make it more convenient for him to read in bed.

A few weeks ago he announced that he was going to start reading. "I want to know stuff," he said. "Reading is how you learn, you know." (I don't know how he made it this long in this family without cluing in to that a little earlier.) So he rummaged through the bookcases, collecting books. His stack of books was beside his bed: The Guns of Normandy, A Tale of Two Cities, 1001 Questions about Canada, and Essays in Mathematics, Vol. II.

Will he actually read them all? I doubt it, but you never know. He's of the disciplined sort, and he just might. He's the only child I've had who's never had to be told to do his homework or practice his drums or do his chores. He just does what he's supposed to do. He doesn't want to cause me any trouble, and he expects a lot of himself, and mostly he does what he expects. An achiever in a family of underachievers.

Lest he sound too perfect, I will say that he's also a typical fifteen year old boy. He's more confident in his abilities than he ought to be. He resents being reigned in. Sometimes he thinks I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. In the end, he feels sorry for his attitude, but there's a period of discontent before he gets there.

I'll pick him up this afternoon. He won't tell me anything at all about the tournament or the trip except as direct answers to my questions. I'll be able to tell that he finds my questions annoying, but he'll answer them anyway. And he'll be really glad that the Ipod he ordered arrived while he was gone and none of us opened the package.

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