Magic Water Fountain Of Wisdom

17 Jan

“Drink deeply from the Magic Water Fountain of Wisdom, boys.  Jake, you drink more deeply than the others,” I said.

“Really, Mom? Is that really necessary, really?”  Asked Jake.

Yes.  Yes it is.

It was a long first semester at Chapel Hill.  Jake had a lot of fun and did very, very well in his major, if his major had been Co-ed Dorm Living.  Sadly, that is not his major.

The semester was peppered with quotes which might haunt Jake for years; things which one with a less-than-stellar GPA should probably not say to their mother.

My favorite?

“I can’t concentrate right now because two girls are rubbing my head.  They say my new buzz feels really good.”

This, said by a boy who had called me to discuss the need for tutoring.

There have been many talks.  Many, many, many talks. Talks about maturity, priorities, and expectations.  Talks about hard work, and potential.  Talks about appropriate times and places for having one’s head rubbed, and the wisdom of telling one’s mother of details which one might never live down.

In fact,  just before this picture was taken there had been one last talk over lunch at Spanky’s, capped off by my mother leaning forward and whispering to the grandson she loves, “Get your ass in gear, kid.”

And Jake, being Jake, listened graciously.

On our after-lunch walk to Chapel Hill’s famous fountain, The Old Well, Jake’s brothers had teased him relentlessly:  Did he need his head rubbed? Had he had a long enough drink from the fountain on the first day of classes?  Because Chapel Hill legend says that drink was supposed to have ensured a 4.0 GPA,  so what happened?  Upon reaching the Old Well, the brothers showed Jake the proper way to drink from the fountain, because he obviously had done it wrong last semester.

Perhaps my suggestion that he drink more deeply than the others was a bit much?

When Jake hung his head and cheerfully bemoaned the abuse being heaped upon him, I worried: had the teasing gone too far?  I hoped not, but I did want to assure him that he was very loved.  And so, I did what a good mother should do:  I rubbed his head and sang “Soft Kitty” to him while his brothers beat the snot out of each other behind us.

I think he’ll do better this semester, if only to make sure that he doesn’t have to switch to a local college and come live at home.

I love that boy so much.

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4 Responses to “Magic Water Fountain Of Wisdom”

  1. Lolly January 19, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Not every 19 year old can laugh at himself like this one can and not every 19 yer old has won the respect of his family like this one has. On the other hand, I appreciate your sanitizing my advice to him about what he needs to do to improve his GPA.

    A great guy. He’ll come through and do what needs to be done. No 1-800-GYPSIES yet.

    • vakadesign January 19, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      I am deeply committed to not selling Jake to the Gypsies, unless we have a repeat of last semester. Then I’d sell him for a nickel.

      DO YOU HEAR ME, SON? A NICKEL!

  2. Posky January 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    If he’s getting his head rubbed by two women and isn’t paying them, things can’t be going too badly. When I think back on the year after high school, I was glad that I decided to drift and wander. It really made college seems like an important choice that I had made. A knew a lot of kids that were just sort of pushed into it and never took it all that seriously. I always had my own place off campus but I was told by several others that staying in a dorm is a lot like being at camp.

    Whatever is keeping your son from stepping up his academic game, I hope he can overcome it or find his true calling.

    • vakadesign January 18, 2011 at 10:17 am #

      I think he’s going to be fine! We’ve talked about whether he really wants to be there; at Chapel Hill–at any school– and he really does.

      The co-ed dorm, though…..He’s having A LOT of fun! I just keep reminding him of what he has to do, academically, to keep having that fun.

      Cross your fingers. He’s a good boy, and I’d hate to have to sell him to the gypsies.

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