So this guy here…
…is fifteen now.
Fifteen years since this:
This September, Vincenzo’s English teacher asked us to write a letter that told about our children’s hope, fears, dreams, desires, and passions. Here’s my first attempt:
Dear Mrs. English Teacher,
If she had asked us to tell about our children’s ability to relax, to sleep in, to spend all day in their rooms, to have as few opinions as possible, to subsist for days eating only saltines and chocolate chips, and to resist anyone’s attempts to put some fire in their shorts…well then I’d have something to write about.
But I did manage to write a letter after all, and so, here it is—now with photos and captions!
Dear Mrs. English Teacher,
Introducing my son, Vincenzo Steven Beto—a simple boy with a complicated name. A boy who loves his family and mint chocolate chip ice cream and who hates spiders. A boy who can eat his weight in pasta but cannot open a can of pizza sauce to save his life. (It’s not entirely his fault; he’s a lefty.)
Vincenzo is quiet and shy, kind and generous. He hangs out with a few equally sweet (but not as quiet) friends, which we call The Squad. He asks for little, and honestly just wants to be left alone with his phone and a down comforter. I keep opening the blinds in his room; he keeps closing them. We call him The Cavie.
We also call him the Absent-Minded Professor. He’s bright and thoughtful and will explain the inner workings of a computer while you wait for the right moment to tell him he’s wearing his fifth-grade brother’s pants. As is the way with absent-minded professors, Vincenzo has had a hard time with executive functioning skills in the past. In middle school, he forgot to do a lot of assignments, or lost them, or forgot to turn them in, or didn’t put his name on them. As a laid-back kid, this didn’t bother him too much. As a Type A Mom, this bothered me quite a bit, but this letter is not about me so I will spare you the detail.
Vincenzo has a great sense of humor, and like him, it’s quiet. Still, it’s witty and sharp and packs a good punch, so make sure to listen.
(This is what “outside time” looked like this summer.)
His younger brothers experience a different kind of punch from him, as once a day he wanders out of his room to put them in choke-holds and distribute heart-punches, making them squeal and laugh. Then he returns to his room to try to meet his goal of watching all of YouTube.
He’s a magnet for younger kids. The King of the Cousins. Even though he’s a 15-year-old boy, he’s not too old to spend a day helping them dig on the beach, build forts, or play dungeons and dragons with them.
Vincenzo is a fly-under-the-radar kid who doesn’t call attention to himself and who doesn’t mind when the joke is on him. He’s easy to be around. He doesn’t have many dreams or plans for the future, no visions of grandeur. He’s happy being who he is, in whatever moment he’s in, especially if that moment involves his phone and his bedroom. It’s hard to buy gifts for him because there’s nothing he wants that he doesn’t already have. We don’t really even have to buy clothes for him, as it has been established that he is fine wearing his fifth- grade brother’s pants.
(He’s also outgrown this couch, yet he keeps sitting on it.)
Thank you asking for the letter—for finding a way to get to know your students in a time it’s hard to get to know anyone. We hope Vincenzo’s writing brings his personality to life so you can get to know him in his own words.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Carrot ginger soup
Ice cream sundaes