A 15-year Old on the Edge

I’ve decided to introduce David (pronounced Daveed or when I say it, with an “e” at the end as Daveedee) a bit as he seems to be my next up and coming soldier. Truthfully, I don’t think of him that way yet, but as he has grown taller than Elie, I find it harder and harder to deny the truth that the day is coming when he will go, the thought that he will one day wear a uniform forms in my mind. No, I am not anxious for that day and no, I will not celebrate its coming. I will accept it as a part of what he must do because we have never, in 63 years, been given any other choice.

So, here’s a bit about Davidi. He’s something special, my third son. He’s got Elie’s blue eyes – a message from God that no, Elie is ours and wasn’t switched at birth despite his being the only one of us to have blue eyes and blond highlights. Davidi’s more timid than Elie, less sure of himself than Shmulik. But he’s got a twinkle in his eye that is uniquely his and a gentleness that astounds me. He’s brilliant at math – just brilliant…but a bit lazy with his brain. In 2nd grade, he understood fractions (a 4th or 5th grade concept) and negative numbers (a 7th grade concept) and was put in 4th grade for the math classes.

In 3rd grade, the school messed up and couldn’t find a solution for him, so they put him…in 4th grade again. In 4th grade, they came through for him, enrolling him in a special city-wide special advanced math program – and even there, they put him a grade ahead. Bad planning, as it turned out. In fifth grade, he did the advanced sixth grade class and we were happy. But the thinking turned out to be wrong when in 6th grade, there was no where to send him. The school’s solution was to offer him the opportunity to tutor 1st and 2nd graders and he wasted the year learning nothing.

Davidi is the “hugger” of the family. Long after the age when Elie and Shmulik gave hugs only sparingly and usually at my instigation, Davidi was coming over for that brief connection – he still does, though less.

Yesterday, he went to the local ambulance squad to arrange to take the first aid course that will allow him to volunteer – he will be the fourth of my five children to take this course, to give this time to help others.

He came with me today to the office and just poured me a glass of Diet Coke – yes, I said I was going to stop drinking the stuff and mostly have, but once in a while, as a treat, I slip back…so he poured it and added the comment, “that stuff is toxic.”

“Toxic?” I asked him, “where’d you learn that word?”

“From PokeMan,” he answered with a grin.

Ah, God, thank you for the little boy that is still inside of him. I see him less and less and I know the day will come when he will leave me. I know the man that I have yet to meet is likely to astound me and now, knowing how fast that boy will leave when the time is right, I enjoy him more.

I wasn’t smart enough to feel this melancholy yearning when Elie and Shmulik were this age. I thought their teen years would stretch on forever. It is hard for me to believe I miss those years a bit but I’ve learned, grown myself enough to enjoy Davidi’s teen years more. Yes, he’s as stubborn as the others were, as determined to avoid chores, as centered on his needs, and more. But he’s also sweet and strong, helpful when he wants to be, and getting more special every day.

May God bless David Levi with life, with health, with wisdom, with maturity and with the time to let that boy inside him be all he can be.

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