I haven’t written a blog post in 3 years–partly because, as Ben gets older, I don’t want to embarrass him–it’s just not the same as when he was younger. But last night something happened that made me want to share– because, even if he were an an adult, his ability to set boundaries and teach others (in this case, me) how to treat him is astonishing. His honesty and his self awareness never fail to surprise me. We had this conversation and I wrote it down as soon as we hung up.
Phone call tonight
I was home tonight watching the news when Ben called. His voice is deep now and his delivery is underplayed and relaxed — cool. A cool kid.
Ben: “Hi Mom, Dad said you wanted me to call you when I got out of the shower.”
Me: “Yeah, honey I wanted to say goodnight to you and tell you I love you. How was your day? How are you?”
Ben: “I’m good but mom, you really upset me this morning. First you told me that there is going to be a war and that we might have to leave the country. And then you told me my dad is fat.”
I sat there stunned. I had done that, he was right. I had driven him to Jeff’s and talked about Jeff never having paid any attention to calories and struggling with his weight all his life, and I was telling Ben how important it was to be aware of calories. And the war….last night the U.S. shot down a Syrian plane, plus Trump said “Thanks anyway China, you can’t help us with this N. Korea thing.” So I had war on my mind.
Me: “Wow. I’m sorry honey. What a buzz kill.”
Ben: “Mom, I don’t want you to talk about these things with me again. It’s really like you’re acting like I’m an adult and I can take it but I’m still a kid even though I act like an adult.”
Me: “You’re right. I guess I think of you as my pal sometimes and you are just a kid, it’s true.”
Ben: “A grown up kid.”
Me: “Yes, a grown up kid.”
Ben: “But I don’t want to talk about this stuff anymore even when I get older. I don’t want to be getting ready for danger ever again for one more minute in my life. Even when I’m an adult. That makes my day all shaky and I don’t want shaky days.”
Me: “I get it. I don’t want shaky days either. So what about the news? What about Trump? You don’t want to talk about him? And you don’t want to hear anything about what’s on the news?”
Me: “What are we going to do about me watching the news all the time?”
Ben: “I can go in my bedroom. But I can still hear the news through the door. I think you need to get me my own TV for the bedroom. I want a Sony.”
Me: “Well, I do think there should be a TV in there.”
Ben: “Ok and don’t forget. I never want to talk about that stuff again. Not, ever–not even in 2025. But I think Donald Trump will get kicked out of the White House in 2018.”
Me: “Really? 2018?”
Me: “Why do you think that?”
Ben: “Because I do. Mom I have to go.”
Me: “Ok I love you.”
Ben: “I love you, too.”
By the way, Jeff is not fat. 🙂