He turns around to face me in the grocery store and exclaims loudly. "I look a lot different from everyone else in this store I bet. More like someone European from a long time ago I guess."
He is undisguisedly gleeful about this fact.
He has no desire to fit in.
I love that he so joyfully fails to conform, all the time. I love that he's far enough removed from all the pettiness of childhood peer groups to think the whole thing is just silly. He rarely, if ever, worries about what other people think of him.
It makes me swell with pride when another kid's dad takes the time to tell me that my kid was painstakingly honest in telling him what happened, even when he is at fault. I know he can't sleep at night if he has been dishonest, not telling a lie, because he hasn't, yet, that I know, told one. No, he hangs back after a week of not sleeping well to tell me, with tears and hesitations, of things done in secret. Because butterscotch chips pilfered from the pantry when no one is looking is enough of a weight on his conscience to deprive him of sleep.
And honestly, I doubt I can really take much credit for who he is. That goes to him, and the choices he consistently makes about what he will give priority in his life. But I'm really grateful that we have been able to raise him in an environment that doesn't suffocate and dismiss his innate character. I'm glad he revels in his uniqueness. I'm glad he was baffled by the group of boys who tried to tell him he ought to wear only skinny jeans so the girls would like him. "That's just silly mom. It's like they don't have enough imagination to see that people can dress all sorts of ways and still look good."
He invariably says such things while simultaneously trying to figure out how to run up the wall and do a back flip, or some such feat of agility, until I make him stop because I don't want any more filthy footprints on the walls.
I love this kid.
And that, my friends, is one of the many reasons why we home school. To make room for our kids to find their way to the things they love, the things that really matter, (and, sorry if this offends anyone, fashion really doesn't matter), and who they choose to be. To make silly to them the idea that they ever have to change who they are to please someone else. To make sure that their uniqueness is something celebrated, not beaten down by 10 year old arbiters of taste who get all their ideas from Nick Junior and MTV.