Day 10 (Well, “Day 3,” actually…)
“Hey Pops. Whatcha doin’?”
My 9 year old son has found me holed up in his room, ironically, the only place in the house undisturbed enough to write. Because we are uncommonly conscious parents (well, she is) “we” planned, in advance, what we wanted to be called when he was old enough to utter his first words. We wanted names different than we used for our parents because we knew we’d be better at it, more aware, more thoughtful, more enlightened. We decided to go with the universal “Mama” and “Papa.” Nine years later, Mama is still “Mama,” but somehow I have evolved into “Pops.” I like it because it reminds me of a 1950’s Soda Shop owner, and that calls to mind malts and burgers.
“I’m writing my blog,” I reply.
“Um, here, sweet boy. I’m writing it here, in your room?” I say with an overly dramatic sweep of my arm across the bumpy landscape of his unkempt room.
“Pops, I hate to tell you this, but the page is blank.”
“Yes, I know the page is blank,” I try to say without annoyance. “That’s why I came in here alone to work on it.”
“Mama said that you’ve been in here all afternoon and your work phone has been ringing off the hook.”
“Great art takes time.”
“And food! Whoa! Did you really eat this whole Family Size bag of Cheetos by yourself?!” he says holding up the carcass. “OMG, you are sobusted, Pops! Mama’s gonna kill you when she finds out!” He says this with more delight than I’m comfortable with.
“Dear son of mine, would you please be so kind as to leave me in solitude so I can write. Writing is a solitary burden that–”
“…every writer must bear. Got it, Pops. You’ve been saying that every day and Mama says it’s annoying. She also says that we should not eat anywhere but the kitchen table.
“Okay, I confess. I did a bad thing. I should not have brought food in here, you’re right. Even parents make mistakes. Now I’m going to ask forgiveness of you. It’s a very important thing to learn to ask for, but even more so to give.”
“I forgive you, but Mama won’t. I’m still going to tell. Unless, of course, you want to work something out.”
“Are you seriously trying to blackmail me?!”
“If the shirt fits.”
“Shoe, the shoe must fit.”
“Whatever. Now what are you going to give me to keep quiet?”
“I will not be blackmailed by a 9-year old!”
“Hey, it’s your funeral,” he says and turns to leave the room.
“Wait, wait, wait a minute, little mister. Come back here.” He turns around and I swear one eyebrow starts to raise. [Great. It genetic.] I set aside my laptop. “Sit down and let’s talk. In our family, we don’t treat each other that way. Blackmail is something for super wealthy TV families. In our family, we treat each other with respect, love and kindness.”
I have to say, I was feeling decidedly proud of myself for turning this into a life lesson. I love being such a wise father. I think my son really appreciates the pearls of wisdom that come out of me. I will turn this into a great moment for teaching values and help mold this young citizen into a wise, compassionate adult. I may sound a little cocky here, but it’s important now and then to pat ourselves on the back for good parenting. Just call me “Super Wise Pops.” Inwardly, I just can’t help but chuckle at bit at how lucky my boy is to have me to guide him.
“Yes, dear boy?”
I’m smiling at him with love and this really spiritually tranquil face that I use when I’m in my wise and peaceful place. Times like these I can feel the Universe using me as a channel for the higher good. Yes. Feeling pretty good about my part in the grand scheme of things right now. Pretty good.
“Would you say that honesty is a value you want to teach too?”
“Yes, absolutely!” I say beaming and exceptionally proud of my parenting.
“Shouldn’t I tell Mama that you honestly ate an entire bag of Cheetos and have not written your blog yet?”
Like Icarus, my decent from the sun is not pretty.
“You are a very naughty boy. You know that, right?”
“Yogurtland tomorrow when Mama’s at work?”
“Okay, Yogurtland,” I say with a sigh of defeat. “Now get outta here so I can write! Scat!
“So what are you going to write about?”
“I’ll think of something. Now GO!”
He bursts out laughing as he leaves the room imitating my voice as he says, “Writing is a solitary burden that…”
[sigh] I get no respect, I tell ya. No respect at all…