Talking With My Son

I take The Boy to school and pick him up from school every day. I’m privileged to be able to do that, because being a mom is my main job. I spend a lot of time with my son that my parents weren’t privileged enough to spend with me, because they had to work outside home for our family to economically survive. But they did drop me off and pick me up from school often. They did have that time with me that I share with my son.


This morning, I had the following conversation with The Boy on the 6 minute drive to school…

Me: <moving the seat up in my car, because J had moved it to work on one of our other cars last night after work> Gotta move the seat up. Did Dad move my car yesterday?
Boy: Yeah. To work on the <car…he said the model of the car>.
<we backed out of the driveway>
Boy: Dad can fix like…anything. πŸ™‚
Me: I know, right? πŸ™‚
Boy: I mean, unless it’s like atomically impossible to put something back together like a torn piece of paper without using tape or glue or staples or something.
Me: I bet Dad could do that too if you gave him enough time.
Boy: What Dad’s gonna grow papyrus? Haha!
Me: You know what papyrus is?!
Boy: That’s what ancient Egyptians used as paper.
Me: That’s what ancient paper was made from, but now it’s made from wood pulp. Dad could make a new piece of paper if you gave him enough time. Or you could make paper out of hemp.
Boy: WEED?!
Me: Hemp and weed aren’t the same thing. You can’t get high off hemp. We actually should be making paper out of hemp. It’s quickly renewable where it takes years to grow trees. And you can make clothes and building materials and soap and all kinds of things out of it. And we don’t make things out of hemp because of the whole ‘weed’ thing. Instead we make stuff out of plastic and kill a bunch of trees.
Boy: Human beings are so stupid sometimes. <shakes his head>
Me: Do you have everything you need for school today?
Boy: Yeah, Mom. <Relays a specific detail about his schedule for the day to me>
Me: <stops car to drop him off> Ok, buddy. Have a good day! I love you!
Boy: Love you, Mom. <gives me a high five, gets his backpack, closes the door and heads into school>

We have talks like this in the car all the time. We somehow talk about our family and what he’s learning in school and current events and social issues and science and what he’s interested in and our practical routine in those two 6 minute trips together 5 days a week. We’ve talked about Bob’s Burgers episodes and Nirvana music and trips we want to take in our RV and how much we miss our dog and his favorite things I make for dinner and that he needs a deodorant he can take to school on PE days. We talk about the songs he’s learning to play on the violin and piano. He asks me what ‘AP’ means when he sees it in front of a class name (Advanced Placement). We talk about books. He tells me he hopes he gets into 7th grade Algebra I and I tell him even the smartest kids in my middle school couldn’t do that until 8th grade. We talk about the new friends he’s made and I tell him that even though I didn’t like middle school very much, my two oldest friends are from middle school. We talk about what middle school was like when I went to school and wonder out loud how high school will be the same for him and how it will be different than it was for me.

J doesn’t drive our boy to school or pick him up, and he works all day so we can economically survive, but the two of them talk a lot too. Over dinner every day. On weekends when The Boy gets what he calls ‘Dad Time.’ Some of the things they talk about are the same as what The Boy talks about with me: trips he wants to make in the RV; science; TV shows we all like to watch together; what it was like for J growing up and how it’s the same and how it’s different than it is for The Boy now. And they talk about totally different things than The Boy talks to me about. Video games. Building things and fixing things. Driving (The Boy is already reeeeeally looking forward to driving. Something I never did and don’t particularly care for much now that I’ve been driving for 25 years…)

I can say with all authority one way middle and high school (and childhood in general) were definitively different and will remain different for my son than they were for me. I didn’t talk to my parents about anything. Ever. I got the distinct impression they were too busy for anything I had to say. They definitely never engaged me in discussion about anything…not my life or theirs or the world at large and how it worked and what they thought about it or what I thought about it. I didn’t feel safe confiding in them.

I’m grateful and frankly ecstatic that my son wants to talk and feels comfortable talking with J and me. About all kinds of things.
I can’t wait to hear what he has to say when I pick him up today.

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