Norman’s 7 and he is ready to give you purpose.
“Not a pyromaniac,” Norman tells you in his sales pitch. “Never beat an animal with a rock. Not overtly homophobic in my teasing of my peers. Getting B+ or higher in my schoolwork thus far.”
“This all sounds very appealing,” you tell Norman.
“Well in child-rearing, as in life, there are no guarantees,” Norman says. “That’s family.”
Explain to Norman that you never thought you wanted to raise a child.
“Let me guess,” Norman will say, turning back to his coloring. “You got older.”
Tell him turning 43 sent you into a kind of tailspin.
“What am I living for?” you ask Norman. “What kind of mark am I making?”
Norman will close his coloring book. “A cartoon I saw once,” he’ll begin.
“Go on,” you say.
“The duck. She rode a rocket into the moon and there was a giant puff of moon dust. Her ducklings watched her fly away, watched her explode in the sky,” Norman will say.
“Did it send them reeling?”
Norman shakes his head. “They just looked at each other, like they each wanted the other to provide an explanation. Surely their mother hadn’t just exploded in a puff of moon dust.”
“Had she?” you ask.
“She hadn’t,” he says through that adorable smile. “The rocket burst straight through the moon, rode a U-turn and soared back to Earth, dropping Mama duck in front of her babies, and they all cheered her return.”
Norman will place his little hand over yours.
“They knew she wasn’t gone. They had never before considered that she could ever be gone. She was more permanent than the moon in the sky.”
You’ll feel Norman’s words in your blood.
“There’s no more bold a mark you can make than when another human being takes you as a given,” Norman tells you. “A parent is more permanent than anything in a child’s life. Become permanent. Adopt me as your son.”
Tousle Norman’s hair, then stand up and shout at the orphanage director, “I’ll take him!”
As you count out the $80,000 in cash, Norman will say, “You’ve made the right choice, Dad.”
Say, “Speak when spoken to, son.”
Happy Adopt Norman Day!