[Phil’s school photo, Fall 2015.]
I vaguely remember being “Student of the Day” once or twice in elementary school. This did not signify superior achievement in eraser-cleaning or anything like that; every student in the class got a turn. But it was nice to be in the spotlight for a little while.
These days — in my son’s 3rd-grade class, anyway — “Student of the Day” has been replaced by “Student of the Week.” Although that may seem a bit over-the-top, having the spotlight for a whole week allows time for experiences that Tiny Greg never had. For example, on Wednesday of a given student’s week, he/she brings in sealed letters from his/her parents/guardians, which are read later in the day. A nice idea in general — and in my case it was a good excuse to write up a (true) story about Phil that he is fond of, but that I had not previously shared on this blog.
December 2, 2015
This is a letter from Phil’s dad, Greg Crowther.
Ever since he was born (on October 20, 2006), Phil has surprised me over and over again.
I suppose I expected Phil to turn out mostly like me and his mom. After all, he has our DNA. But your DNA is not your destiny; it’s more like a personal map that helps you reach some places more easily than others. And Phil often winds up in places that I would never have considered visiting!
For example, there was the day where Phil saved our lives.
(Maybe he didn’t really save our lives, but, at the time, it seemed like he did.)
This was in the middle of the winter four years ago. It was a stressful time for us, as Phil’s mom and I had just separated, and Phil was now living in two different homes. On an unusually cold and snowy day, I brought Phil to his babysitter, Pat, who lives in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, and returned a few hours later. As darkness descended, I led Phil to Greenwood Avenue, where the #5 bus would pick us up. But the #5 didn’t come; I think it had been re-routed due to the snow. We got cold and wet as the snow kept falling.
I didn’t know what to do, but we needed to try something. I led us several blocks east, where I thought we could catch bus #358 [now bus E] along Aurora Avenue. Again, no bus appeared. As Phil and I got colder and grumpier, I started to panic a little bit. How were we going to get out of this mess?
Phil noticed the Jack In The Box restaurant a block away and had an idea: let’s go there!
We never eat at Jack In The Box; we don’t particularly like what it has to offer. But at that moment, Jack In The Box was exactly what we needed. We dried off, recharged ourselves with some hot food, and were able to wait patiently and comfortably for a bus that did eventually arrive and take us home.
Life with Phil is not usually this dramatic. We don’t usually get trapped in blizzards without adequate clothing or food, and Phil doesn’t usually need to save us by “thinking outside the box” (or thinking of The Box, as the case may be). Nevertheless, Phil is constantly pointing out options that I hadn’t thought of, and I am grateful for his unexpected ideas, large and small. I love you, Phil.