Several weeks ago, on a late Saturday afternoon, my 13-year-old son and I walked into a store on 50th Street in midtown Manhattan to buy him a pair of shoes.
Ballet shoes. White canvas ballet shoes.
And then Ben went home to play Call of Duty: Black Ops during his dinner break, practicing his turns in second in the small living room while waiting for the game to load. An hour later, I took him back to work.
That wasn’t the first time I realized that this not the stereotypical father/son relationship. It wasn’t even the first time that day.
Nothing about the relationship with my youngest child — by a minute, his twin notes — is stereotypical, or even typical if you try to put it in conventional terms. Of course, few things are typical about Ben.
Born small for a boy at just 5 pounds and 10 ounces, he’s still small in stature — less than 5 feet and only 83 pounds. But it doesn’t bother him. In fact, small is a good thing given the short career span of child actors, especially one who loves the stage.
This afternoon, Ben will be wearing a dress on a Broadway stage, making his debut as Michael in “Billy Elliot.” Two months ago, he uttered the word “orgasm” on national television. And a couple of weeks ago, he went to a movie with a girl, then told me about it, and asked if he had handled things correctly.
See what I mean by atypical?