“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.
“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.