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An Open Letter to Genius on His 21st Birthday

Being the younger brother of Rockstar was always going to be a hard act to follow. But then again following was never really your thing. 

You were born in the middle of a desert in the Middle-Eastern country we had just moved to and as if to prove a point you decided to emerge FOUR weeks early when your father was on an airplane and I really was COMPLETELY alone. I guess I should have known right then that nothing I did would influence your behavior. You were NOT an easy baby, I recall you cried, squawked, moaned and complained through the first eighteen months of your life, which of course I believed at the time was somehow MY fault, not realizing that in fact the only thing wrong with you was that you were BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND. As soon as you were able to express yourself and create your own entertainment everything changed. No silly blue rattles or crib toys for you - your first word was "BATTRY" and you slept peacefully through the night clutching a couple of double A's in each hand. From there it was only a short hop to academic excellence.

What I most admire about you (and the way that you conduct your life) is your confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities. You have always been incredibly self-motivated and focused on your goals and have not really needed much guidance. More importantly you have never been one to run with the pack, choosing if necessary to have NO friends rather than the WRONG friends and consequently you are liked and admired by many. Your calm demeanor cloaks a compassionate, empathetic heart; I know with ABSOLUTE certainty that you would never judge another human being based on color, creed, economic status or sexual orientation and would speak out against others that do so. 

You do not suffer fools gladly, so I am flattered that aside from being your mother I am still someone that you happily spend time talking to and proud that I can (sporadically) beat you at Scrabble and Canasta. 

You do not wear your heart on your sleeve and sometimes you seem a little mysterious, but without fail you carry yourself with great dignity and integrity earning my utmost respect. You are fiercely independent which for me is both hard to accept and incredibly liberating at the same time, but I hope you know that I'm here for you in ANY moment of need should the occasion ever arise.

It gives me great joy that your brother is your very best friend. I'm glad that instead of choosing to compete for my attention you have bonded together and are able to laugh at my MANY eccentricities (which is something that one can only share with a sibling.) 

It was always very easy to raise you - I feel almost embarrassed that I got off so lightly and never had to suffer through the angst of tormented teenage years, agonizing over where you were and what you were doing, although being a Good Jewish Mother I was QUITE able to find lots to worry about without ANY basis in reality. Over the years you have gradually and gently re-trained me (using the techniques from your psychology classes) into a more stable and less neurotic version of myself and the whole family has reaped the benefits. 

There is no doubt in my mind that you will be successful in whatever career you choose to pursue and it is gratifying to know that you will achieve this not through any need or desire to earn our approval but entirely for your own satisfaction. There are few people in this life that can operate within socially acceptable guidelines and yet still be true to themselves and their beliefs. I take no credit for your development or your characteristics but could not be more proud that you are my son.

Happy 21st Birthday to my TRUE Genius with all my love, 


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