My oldest son, Simeon, is 23 today.
I caught him, slippery, broad-shouldered and born in the veil, on a cool, cool morning in 1998. I had trimmed my nails close in anticipation of playing the role of midwife again, so when he was born shrink-wrapped in the caul, the amniotic sac completely intact around his little body, I couldn’t get a purchase with my fingertips to tear it.
Fortunately, Lisa was there with her fingernails and did the trick, opening the package of the amazing gift he has been from that moment up to the moment I sit writing this.
He is a good kid.
When he was younger, he learned to ice skate at the old rink where Eastland Mall used to stand. We fell in love with hockey from some other dad’s and kids that skated there, and it wasn’t long before he began to play.
He is a fantastic skater, built with a low center of gravity and powerful legs and he developed a wicked wrist shot at a young age.
But…hockey rewards aggression. My oldest son is not aggressive. He is the kindest kid of all my seven. He is quite literally the second kindest person I know, behind only Beth-The-Kindhearted herself. He is so kind that in games playing travel hockey on a team with the best players of his birth year, when he would score on an opposing goalie, he would never show off with a big celebration. Often, he would tap the goalie’s pads with his stick and encourage him!
”You’ll get the next one,” he would say, not wanting the kid to feel bad.
And he’s wise for his 23 years; the living, breathing demonstration of what people mean when they talk about an old soul. I think those two qualities are inseparably linked. His wisdom is born out of his kindness. In Hebrew, his name means, ”He Hears”, and he does, he really does. He hears with compassion and empathy.
Can you tell I’m proud?