Sunday afternoon I had decided that my boys and I needed a change from our usual lunch fair. We usually go out for Chinese or Fried Chicken after church. Not every Sunday but at least once a month. I thought it would be fun to go to Pizza Hut. They had renovated the one by our church so I thought P-I-Z-Z-A spells fun, right?
Well if you have ever gone out with two boys ages 10 & 12 you can imagine that their idea of fun and mine are not even in the same ballpark. Between getting 7 calls from my daughter, who wanted me to drive 30 miles to pick her up, giving me directions, a time and a meeting place, and two little boys spitting wadded up straw paper through their straws at each other, I was wondering what side of the brain that registered “Pizza = fun.”
After I got them to stop spitting and we figured out what on the menu they would not eat, it became clear to me that having quality time with my boys would take some work. I got to thinking about how I could start a conversation with my two little princes that would be both meaningful and enlightening. The results being that I find out something endearing about each of them.
I seem to remember saying something to the effect
“Ok, boys we need to talk about making some positive changes around the house this year. What do you think?”
I think this is where the conversation went left –asking questions before laying out the plan.
So this is how it went.
E=my 12 yr old
S=my 10 yr old
E “Well you need to do more stuff with us.”
S= “Yeah, fun stuff, stop kicking me E.”
M=”Well how about Tennis, we could all play tennis.”
E= “That would not be fun, let me have one of those S.” (one of the Star Wars action figures S carries around everywhere we go in a large ziploc bag)
S= “I will play with you, mama, no you won’t give it back.”
M= “Good, thank you, that will be fun.”
E= “Well you don’t take us places like Papa did, come on S, I will give it back.”
M=”Well when do I have time to take you places like he did, we don’t always have time or money left over at the end of the month for extra stuff and you don’t like going places I like to go.”
E= “You could find some left over.”
Time or money was the question in my head, both would be difficult, so I started with the answer to the money issue…
M= “Here take my phone and get the calculator up, now add these numbers…..”
E= (looking at me dumbfounded but taking the phone) “Oops messed up, give me those numbers again”
He tries 3 more times before handing me the phone back.
M=”Well anyway let me add it up for you……”
E= “S let me just have one for a minute, I promise I’ll give it back!”
I attempt to add it two more times before giving up. Why are cell phone calculators so hard to use anyway?
M= “Anyway, so this is what I make every two weeks and this is what I pay out, it doesn’t go very far does it?”
E=(looking at me with blank look then changing subjects) “You know before Papa left I didn’t even really know you were there, you were always doing something around the house.”
M=”Yeah, like laundry, housecleaning, cooking dinner, taking you to school and picking you up”
E= “Yeah I guess that’s it, it is almost like you didn’t exist, ok, I don’t mean that in a mean way, cuz your the mama but what I remember is that I always knew Papa’s faces. Like his angry face (he shows me what it looked like and it was right on) and you have many angry faces. Like I don’t even know which one it is really…(he proceeds to show me a few) well it is just hard to tell with you.”
I am sitting and staring at E not sure if I want to laugh out loud cuz he is serious. The contortions he was making with his face did not resemble anything that looked like one of my feelings. Now, one would think I would be offended that after all the years I spent caring for and nurturing for my two little boys came down to this one moment: I didn’t even exist until “the papa” was gone.
But being the forgiving mama that I am and trying to see the glass half full my mind went immediately to the thought “How enlightening his little statement was.” That my son was entering into the world of female communication and he isn’t even aware of it yet. He has no clue that from that day forward every female he meets will cause him the same quizzical look on his face. And I know the thoughts that follow that look
“What on earth are you talking about and why can’t I understand you?”
This new knowledge about my soon to be teenage son was definitely out of left field!
S=”Mama, can I have just cheese on my pizza?”