Cayden · childhood · Findlay

Right of Prodigy

It’s probably low blood sugar, or that I’m at Rady’s Children’s Hospital for the second time today (Tylenol having constituted lunch) but I’m unusually talkative in the waiting room waiting on Cayden’s radio appointment. Blonde Latina Mom remarks Findlay’s hair as the ‘perfect shade of blonde’ which I’m fairly certain she’s trying to reproduce herself by the looks of it. She’s really nice. We talk about elbow fractures and I show her a picture of Cayde jumping off playground equipment as evidence of his first injury. Boys. Cayde unintentionally scares her by saying this is his second break. ‘No, no, no!’ Latina Mom clutches her chest.
Francisco–her wide-eyed kid–keeps peering into Finn’s stroller and looking at me quizzically. ‘I like your t-shirt, Francisco.’ It has Spider-Man on it and one sleeve is cut off on account of his cast. ‘What’re you in for, Francisco?’ He doesn’t answer and Nice Lady tells him not to stare. She leaves for a minute, and Francisco crawls up next to me and whispers: ‘I fell off my Mom’s bed.’ He smells exactly like Teddy Grahams. I feed Finn in the meanwhile and give Francisco some fig bar. ‘Bummer, dude. I did that, too, when I was a kid.’ Cayde launches into a story about stitches because of course. He’s the big brother in the waiting room which applies to everyone within measurable distance. His story involves a friend of his getting 90 STITCHES. You don’t call bullshit on a six-year old. A gentle ‘hush’ suffices and Cayde gets quiet.
Cayde gets called into radiology and it’s a high-five good-bye to Francisco. The radio-tech points at Cayden and says: ‘Hey! I remember you!’ Same tech on the night of the break. She turns to me: ‘One of my favorite patients…he answered all those question so confidently.’ I am flattered. Because I’m unremarkable and far from prodigious at this point being near-40, but I love it when my kids are recognized and remembered, and when a radio-tech points her finger and says ‘this kid is of remark.’ We all want our kids to be awesome.
We leave, diagnosis good. Francisco gets another high-five on the way out. Rady’s is a maze and, while pushing Finn through the corridors which are sky-blue and white, and with my head pounding, Cayde decides to exhibit his newfound ability to skip.
‘See, Daddy?’
‘Yes, Cayden.’
Finn is babbling and Cayde is 20 feet in front of me. A grumpy nurse passes, then looks up at me: ‘Beautiful kids.’ She chooses to smile, and my day is made.