Quality Time, Chickenpox and New Year’s Eve
New Years Eve 1992, I was 7 years old. I have always been a morning person; but for some reason this day I woke up at about 11AM. I felt a really bad itch on my neck. I looked in the mirror and noticed that there were two small spots on my neck that were not there the night before. I tried to ignore the nuisance that was bothering me and wait until my mother woke up.
About thirty minutes later I bum rushed the bathroom door where my mother was and said “Mom, look. What’s this on my neck?!” She examined it. She looked a little concerned as if hiding something and said “I don’t know, Chad.”
The day went on and the itching got worse. I noticed a couple of other ones sprout up as the day became evening. That night I was feeling so irritated at our church’s watch night service and wanted to scratch. My mother took me to my grandmother’s house which was three blocks away. We sat there watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve and it was the first time I’d ever seen the ball in Times Square drop. I never knew such a thing even existed until that night. We sat there counting down “Five. Four. Three. Two. One. HAPPY NEW YEAR!” as the ball had reached the bottom of the screen and it lit up saying 1993.
The next words my mother said to me were, “Chad, you have chickenpox.” I began to cry uncontrollably. As kids, we all knew what the dreaded chickenpox were. It was the disease that everyone got at one time or another in which they were out of school for a week and came back with spotted scabs on them. It was worse than cooties and was our biggest fear other than AIDS and the monster in the closet. There I was, distraught that right as I was anxious about going back to school and telling all of my friends what Santa had got me that I would be relegated to quarantine by my parents and the doctor until the eleventh of January. My mother tried to cheer me up by talking to me with my two WWF action figures I had on me, Virgil and Hulk Hogan. That was also the time that I was informed about race and that Hulk Hogan was white and that he in fact had a reddish tan. I smiled and knew everything would be okay.
That week off from school was awesome! Not only did I have an extra week of vacation but I got to spend special quality time with my mom and dad while my twin sister was in school. My mom watched me the first two days and did mom things: being nurturing and letting me eat whatever I want in my all of my calamine lotion splendor. With my dad I played video games, blasted Michael Jackson and rap music at obscene levels, and played baseball in our apartment in Queens like we were at the park. Best. Time. Ever. That was also the week my rap career started with my sister as the tandem Double Dose--we had all intentions of blowing Kriss Kross out of the water–it lasted about a week but I never forgot my roots when I really did start rapping some years later.
That time that I spent with my parents meant the world to me. Sure, they’ve taken my sister and me to Disney World and many other memorable things. However, that time with them was my favorite. As a parent, I look at this and think about with all of the grandiose things I do for my daughter and nephew, it will be the little things that will mean the most to them. There will be big Christmases, birthdays, gifts, paying for college and things like that but getting to do whatever you want trumps everything. I try my best to remember that and let them see that while I am an adult a part of me is still a kid.