I was taking Damian to work. I purchased tickets to attend a JazzEd concert fundraiser so we could spend some time together. He is my middle child and I know sometimes he feels it acutely. Rather than drive back and forth, I was bringing him with me. I warned him I had a regular day so he would need to occupy himself. He still enthusiastically agreed. He took it a little further than I anticipated as he pulled out and read a book on the ride – so much for my visions of deep and meaningful conversations.
My first meeting was with a senior executive so I wanted to make sure I was on time. I hurriedly got him set up in my office and left. When I returned he had written on the “white board” in my office. “I have the best mother in the world.” “Signed Damian Angelidis.” Forget meaningful conversations, this is so much better!
My business lunch was cancelled so I asked Damian where he wanted to go. He could choose anything. He said, “Let’s go to Jimmy Johns. Last time I came with Dimitri he didn’t want to go.” I could see how much being able to make this choice without critique or being overruled by his brother meant to him. He ordered a sandwich named “the Ultimate Porker” because it contained all pig meats. But for me it was perfectly named for him too. Since birth, he has been myopically focused on what he is going to eat next. We laughed together about the dual meaning.
Jimmy Johns lived up to its fast reputation. We headed toward South Lake Union a few blocks away to spend our remaining time. We saw an amazing tree growing in the water which Damian captured.
We also ran into this wonderful circular 300-foot long woven stick sculpture named a “Spiral of Hope”. Damian cheerfully ran through and posed.
I took a break in the afternoon and asked Damian what he wanted to do. He suggested Starbucks and wanted to know if a “Venti” hot chocolate with extra whipped cream was possible. We ran into a friend who chatted with Damian chatted for a few moments. He told me, “I really liked him. He must be very smart given what he does. Also he has a big head like me.” I love this kid’s positive energy and his random thoughts and connections. I ran into the friend later that week who mentioned his brief interaction with Damian had uplifted him. You can see Damian enjoying his Venti Hot Chocolate with one of the sculptures on campus he likes.
My last meeting of the day was in a café. I asked Damian to join me because we would leave for the concert directly from there. When I met my colleague, he said it’s loud inside because a few of the Seattle Sounders were visiting. Damian perked up and immediately ran to see more. We met in the lobby with the happy sound of fans and stars in the background. Damian came back animatedly asking, “Did you hear my question?” He explained he asked the team manager, “What do you think your chances are in the MLS?” And the manager responded, “What do you think our chances are?” Damian replied, “I think they are pretty good.” His grin spread from ear to ear. I asked him later if he was nervous. He responded, “Oh course, but how often do you get the chance to ask a question of a professional soccer manager.” Well said, my son! He got his picture taken, signed poster photos as well ate free pizza.
We then went to the main reason Damian was with me. The JazzEd benefit was in a cozy bar café with a stage. We were seated in the back at a corner booth by the window. Damian snuggled close to me and put his arm around me. He said, “I am glad it is just us.” He took pictures of the various performers who ranged from the beginner to a jazz great. He texted his dad to let him know what a great time he was having. And challenged him, “What are you going to do with me?” His dad’s response made him laugh and reply, “That would not be a very good day.” When the performance was nearly over, he said he was ready to go home.
A few days later, we were discussing this day. He mentioned it was disappointing that the following day, I had an issue with his brother and wasn’t very happy. Then he added, “You know it wasn’t really a perfect day, when you were gone a long time I missed you and wanted us to be together. And I know I annoyed you sometimes, but there was so much good stuff that happened that it really felt like a perfect day."
My Damian makes me think. He hit on a lot throughout this day and his analysis of it. Perfect can be simple and everyday things. There is no perfect day if you can’t let go of what is not perfect in it. And it becomes more perfect if it is a shared experience especially with someone you love. There will always be the next day that might be something very less than perfect. But that’s life and what makes those perfect days so precious.
When I told him via email (I was traveling) I was going to write this blog to capture our special day before we forgot all the glorious details, he emailed back, “Thank you mom for making our perfect day stick by sharing with everyone.”
I wish I could bottle the wisdom of this 11 year old in these moments. I love you my sweet, complicated, quirky middle son. Our perfect day and your thoughts will “stick” with me forever. You made it REALLY NICE for me too!