Growing up (and still today) my father would never use the word crazy to describe someone or their actions. He told me once that as a physician it means something different coming from him.
It was near the start of First Grade (at "back to school night") during what we call "The Great Regression" that I finally understood.
Jack wasn't doing well in school. I had to go meet a bunch of new parents that I may or may not have to explain things to, so I was already in a pretty defensive mood.
The teacher had put together a slide show of the kids in the first two weeks of first grade (which was lovely. It really was). But there was only one picture of Jack.
The mother that was sitting next to me and asked "are you Jack's dad"? We're the only red-head in the class, so it was a pretty good assumption. I told her yes.
"Well, Johnnie just goes on and on about Jack. He says he is the craziest kid. He can't wait to see what he does next. He just says Jack is simply nuts. He just loves that crazy kid."
It was supposed to be a compliment. I know it was. But, the reason Jack wasn't in any of the pictures was because his behavior was getting him removed from the class daily.
I said something like "yeah, that's Jack" or something dismissive like that.
We were tasked with leaving a note for our children to read in the morning.
I quietly fought back the tears and wrote my note. Finally understanding why my father never used the word crazy.
*** that was a long time ago, but we had a party this weekend and the neighborhood kids were playing a tag-like game in the bounce house. And Jack was "it"... he's always "it". And when I asked him why he was "it" again... he smiled big and shook his head and declared "Because they say I'm crazy!!!" and he happily bounced away.
And I was in a shitty mood for the next 2 days.
*** a little post script for the blog post only***
Want to know what I wrote to him? We've had it on our refrigerator since that September Morn...
I know how hard it is for you to be here. Your mom and I are very proud and ask you to just keep trying your best. Listen to Ms Sally (his aide). She loves you very much and truly cares about you at school. Please keep trying.
Life is struggle, conflict is essential, triumph is eternal.
I still believe in you.
I love you