Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Son Peter - A Reminiscence

When Peter was small, he was really small. He was born small at 35 weeks gestation when Ann had HELPP Syndrome, which had yet to be described in the literature, so as her blood didn’t clot and her BP was up and her liver enzymes were up and she was very sick and went into labor at 35 weeks, we all weren’t sure what was happening. It turned out all right and Peter more than survived. But he was small. Today he is just a bit shorter than I am and all muscle and very athletic, but when he was younger he was small.

But smart and with an emotional IQ of 150 from the day he was born. Here he would be, about three feet tall, standing by the door and looking straight up at our friends and say, “How was your vacation?” People would say, is that a little kid, or is that a midget? And they would leave saying, “That kid is going to be President.”

But before that, Pete was small and very verbal as a three year old. Having older sibs was a big help because he acculturated readily, and made the expressions of others his own. He taught himself to read by taking baseball cards and finding out where they belonged in the scrap-book by comparing letters in the names. He had no hesitation in parroting. One day he turned over the telephone (let’s all date ourselves), saw the symbol and said, “AT&T – The Right Choice!” Big mouth, my parents would say.

So Ann had passed the bar, worked for a firm she didn’t particularly like, then went to work for a small firm she did like, and we invited the youngest partner and his wife over for dinner, and some lawyer patients of mine that I liked, and we had dinner. It was a nice time, and we were on our good behavior, as one would be in that circumstance. A nice dinner and nice talk as Ann and I tried to find ourselves in our new lives as young professionals.

As the dinner came to an end, who would provide the coup de grace? Peter, of course. So down the stairs he came, our little verbal cherub, as the dinner broke up and we all headed for the door. “Here’s Peter!” we exclaimed, and started to introduce him.

Pete walked down the stairs and surveyed the situation with his 150 emotional IQ. We were so proud, he was so darling. Then he spied in our front hall – we had five kids, after all – a parked bicycle. Well, that happens. But Pete was no doubt conscious of how this violated the image of the young lawyers. His visage clouded over, he became incensed, he approached the bike head on, he glared, he kicked the front tire, and with the impassioned heat of a violated host pronounced: “I told Brian to keep his fucking bike out of the hallway!”

I’m still laughing at Peter – and, I guess, at our little pretensions. I guess I could have sent it in to Reader’s Digest if it were a little less of a family magazine.

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Some things never change, Budd.

    Said with dearest love for Pete,