Saturday, 26 November 2011

The return of Nicholas Bumblebee

Tomorrow, my son Nicholas Alexandre turns 26.

Hard to believe it's been 26 years since that wintry night in Regina when little Nicholas Bumblebee came into the picture. A lot has happened.

Time for a short recap.

Nick survived all those baby struggles: not having a thyroid gland, as well as an 18 month developmental lag which brought us to the hospital every week for four years for occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy.

He survived the messy divorce and five years living with a step monster who made him eat Beefaroni every night in the garage while she made gourmet meals for his father. Those were bad years for my eldest son, so bad we used to call him Nickerella.

He survived the boarding school which followed the step monster years. He tells me he's part of a class action suit which has been filed against the owner of the school. Apparently, the headmaster is being charged with failing to provide the necessities of life to some very troubled teenagers from rich families.

Great parenting, Mr. Big.

He survived a year on the street when he came home to live with us again. Extreme drug use. An early pregnancy which turned out, thankfully, not to be of his making. He dodged a criminal record.

Finally at 17, Nick picked himself up and straightened out a bit. He committed the courageous act of returning to high school and survived the embarassment of sitting with 14-year-olds in biology class.

Nick admitted to being happy about being short during those high school years -- again thanks to having no thyroid. He was nearly a man but he looked like a little kid. His brother Stef says he looks like Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button.

After graduating high school, Nick survived a couple years of university, an even shorter stint at college and an even shorter stint at one of those rip off colleges.

He survived a couple of failed relationships and a number of ghetto jobs.

We nearly lost him after he embarked on an ill-fated adventure to live with friends in Barrie. By the time he returned home, drug addiction and malnourishment had taken their toll, leaving Nick nearly unrecognizable.

Haunted. He looked like an AIDS patient.

We brought his body back but somewhere in a bag of twigs, he had lost his spirit. Nick looked world weary, beat up. Defeated.

He spent nearly a year either sitting in the basement playing video games or pacing or smoking pot.

Inexplicably, a few months back, he rallied. He found himself a new girlfriend, announced that she was with child and set out to make a name for himself in the big box store industry.

He's talking about buying a suit.

Much to the relief of the principals in this drama, the Bumblebee appears to have returned.

In about three weeks time, he will be a father of a baby girl and a new chapter will begin for all of us.

He appears to be up for it.

My baby is having a baby.

I think back to that wintry Regina night when the tires went square and my own life changed forever.

It still gives me goosebumps. Nowhere in life is there an endorphin rush like that.

Or fear like that.

For Nick on his 26th birthday, I wish only the best. A healthy child. A bit of a career. Hopes. Dreams.

He's come a long way in a few months. I must admit to being impressed.

Maybe because he's got something, no someone, outside himself to live for.

I hope he stops trying to survive, and starts to thrive.

Twenty six is the year my son needs to step up.

All the best, Nicholas Bumblebee.

Let 'er rip.

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