Fourteenth Birthday

Fourteenth Birthday

On my fourteenth birthday I was hit by a car during cross-country practice. The next day, my coach called me Krash and the name stuck. In fact, to a select population from Elyria, Ohio I will probably always be Krash. To say getting hit by a car changed my life isn't an understatement. After only three weeks of high school, I went from Kevin to Krash and it shaped the next four years profoundly and the next ten or so subtly. Even as a subtle influence, as long as Elyria was in my standard orbit, getting hit by that car made waves upon ripples.

I'm reminded of that day, now so many years ago, 34 to be exact, because today, September 2nd is my sons fourteenth birthday. Has there been an event that has defined him as much? Will there be one? I don't want it to be as dramatic as getting hit by a car, that's for sure. But whatever it is, thirty years from now, will that be the go to short hand for old junior high friends? I have no way of knowing.

Fourteen seems so young all of a sudden. Fourteen years ago, my son was born, 2 months too early at a tiny 3 pounds 3 ounces. We went to see him every day for six weeks in the hospital. We watched him fight and grow, learn how to swallow then learn how to eat. He was ready to come home before we were ready for it to happen. It's disorienting how that period, ten weeks in 2003 when you add the month before he was born and my wife was in the hospital, seems like a life time ago and yesterday all at once. Every time I drive down Ridge Avenue in Evanston in the fall I'm taken immediately back to that particular fall.

Maybe that's enough. Maybe those six weeks are his car, his defining moment. I kind of hope so. Getting hit by a car to get a nickname is a pretty shitty way to spend your fourteenth birthday.

ry480

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