Many of you readers remember Sven. If not, he is all over my past posts, especially from last summer. Not sure how to link you to them, will ask Bing for help with that when she gets done teaching on Friday. (Right now, she is a total trainwreck...she teaches high school and she says "the natives are more then restless, they are rebelling and pushing every single button I have this week.")
But, Sven. Yeah. He and his mother have been my next door neighbors since I moved in when Liv was two. Sven left for college this fall and we have missed him so much. We have sent him boxes of cookies, e-mails, funny cards, but it didn't help the fact that we simply missed seeing his face every day. He was a star football player in high school and we went to ALL of his games. This fall, we followed our Cornhuskers faithfully, but we missed those friday night lights.
He came home for winter break a few days ago. We left him alone the first day so that he could catch up with his Mom, but then we couldn't stand it anymore and went running over to see him.
He took my breath away. I had forgotten how huge he is. And I don't mean fat. That boy is all muscle. He plays for his college team now and is even more massive. He tells me that he is considered "one of the freshman pups" and that they are working on adding even more muscle to his frame. When he hugged me, he literally lifted me off of the ground. When he hugged Liv (and turned her upside down as is his custom), she squealed in remembered glee.
We all kept touching him, his mother, Bing, Liv and me. Liv shyly stood next to his chair and then inch by inch ended up in his lap. He kept his arms tight around her, his chin resting on her head while he talked to us. I kept thinking to myself of how this young man will be such a good father. And it is all thanks to his wonderful mother, his own father left them when he was just a kid.
Liv volunteered that she was studying the United States in school and one of the states she picked to do a report on was the state where he went to college. She mentioned that she was bringing some samples of the state fruit for a prop and tentatively asked him if maybe he could come with her and tell some more about the state?
I had a moment of worrying that he would say no, that her feelings would be hurt, but should have known better. This was Sven.
He asked her what time he needed to be there and fished out her early Christmas gift, a hooded sweatshirt and a cap with his school's logo on it.
"I'll wear my school duds and you can wear yours and we will knock their socks off, small fry," he told her.
We spent the afternoon talking. He talked about how different the culture is at his school, how liberal the state is in general.
"I thought I was very liberal," he said. "I mean, I was half raised by a lesbian. My mom is a hippie and we recycled before anyone else did. But, I am just part of the crowd now instead of being on the fringe like we are here."
He spoke about his friends (mostly fellow football players) and his crazy dorm mate whose feet smell like garlic, but he likes anyway.
There are triplets down the hall from him. All female. Named Faith, Hope and Charity. They do his laundry. Yeah, I think they like him. They go hiking on the weekends together and hang out in general.
I asked him if he liked one triplet more than the others. He laughed. No, he said. He liked them all the same and it was pretty cool to have three sweet women in his life to study and eat meals with.
I think it is safe to say that he is really enjoying college life.
He got all A's on his finals.
His mother kept coming over to run her hand over his hair. He took her hand once and kissed it, smiling at her. I almost felt like bawling. He is one of those people who are just intrinsically good.
He met a girl on the plane ride home who lives nearby and he already made a date with her.
And yesterday, he was Liv's prop on her state report.
I was volunteering that day helping to sort books in the library and I saw him drive in and park in the lot outside of the school. I realized that I had neglected to tell him the code number to get into the school, so I ran to meet him and escort him to Liv's class. He was dressed in his school colors, sweatpants and a shirt.
When we walked into Liv's classroom, she literally leaped from her chair in joy and started running towards him before abruptly stopping halfway, figuring out that it might not be too cool to jump into his arms in front of her whole class. She carefully caught herself and took his hand to introduce him to Miss Perry.
Who blushed and almost stammered when speaking to him. I'd forgotten that she is not that much older than he is and well, he is a fucking gorgeous man.
I stayed and watched the report. It went well. Liv presented her report and then held out her hand to invite Sven to talk. He was remarkably composed and good natured.
Most of the kids in the class were more interested in what position he played on the football team than what the climate was like or what he saw on the hiking trails.
Afterwards, Miss Perry invited him to stay for lunch and he accepted and sat at Liv's table, his big body looking like a giant in the small child sized chair. He ate the hot lunch of the day: cheese souffle, fruit slices, a salad, and a raspberry scone.
Before he left, he stood up and thanked the class for having him, thanked Liv especially for wanting his help and then left, waving and giving the peace sign.
I love this boy.
I have known him since he was a gangly paperboy, twelve years old and with a bowl cut. He made my daughter's day. She is the only child in her class with no siblings and he is just as good as her big brother.
Sven, you rock. And thanks again for taking Socks for a walk and whipping him into a frenzy of dog joy by wrestling with him on my kitchen floor.
Welcome home, sweet bird of youth. We love you.