(sipping our morning coffees: his decaf, mine regular)
Hank: I miss my bed already.
Me: Me, too.
Hank: Why is waking up so hard?
Me: When waking up is hard it is either a sign of unrest or of wonderful dreams you don’t want to leave behind.
Hank: I think I need a sleep mask?
Me: Like Holly Golightly?
Hank: Who is she?
Me: She’s fictional.
Hank: I didn’t get to sleep until past 11.
Hank: It was a combination of my thoughts and Molly’s rocklight (papa invented nightlight).
Me: Hence the need for a sleep mask? I think that can be arranged.
Hank: Thanks, I’d like to try it.
Me: (sigh) What an intense weekend.
Me: We oscillated between restie-pajama-fantastic to kinda screaming at each other far too much.
Me: Your papa and I had a long talk about it on our date over HUG mugs of frosty beers I was almost too arthritic to lift and a big plate of French fries overlooking Porto from Gia at sunset. Quite a majestic view for a shitty conversation, I must admit.
Me: And He helped me come to the conclusion that while you are going through this period of big feelings that I need to stop competing with you.
Hank: What do you mean?
Me: Well, remember when I said when you became a teenager I was going to stop talking and start listening?
Me: Well, your papa hypothesizes that you maybe experiencing the symptoms of teenager early.
Hank: Oh no.
Me: Most probably temporary, seeing as you are only ten.
Hank: I hate growing up. I don’t want to do it and want to do it all at the same time.
Me: Truth. So, I am going to stop winning every argument at great emotional cost to us both, because our disagreements are less and less about what we are actually fighting about and more and more about the toxic soup-sludge of hormones bubbling over inside your body and growing pains, both emotional and physical.
Hank: (harrumphing into his decaf)
Me: Take last night for instance. Flashback to dinnertime: You are on the sofa absorbed in YouTubiverse and I asked you to get the talheres (silverware) for dinner.
Me: I asked you calmly, but you acted like a bee had just stung your pinkie finger and frantically raised your voice, oozed off the couch and on to the floor in a almost boneless gymnastics maneuver that would have gotten you an 8/10 from the Russian judge then proceeded to yell at me to not yell at you.
Hank: And you weren’t yelling.
Me: And I proved that to you only by changing my behavior. As of Friday if you had spoken to me in that tone I would have screamed, “I’m NOT Yelling!” and eviscerated you for doing exactly what I was doing while tell you not to do it, believing that only by flexing my mother-heavy-weight-championship pro-wrestler voice around would I have control over your outburst and therefore still be the Chef de Família (head of the family).
Hank: But you are! You will always be the Chef de Família (head of the family)!
Me: Oh, but heavy is the head that wears the crown, my boy! Anyway, your papa and I talked…
Hank: On your date, over beers and a great view, over me! (shaking his head, ashamed)
Me: Newsflash! Kids are the parents’ favorite subjects. It starts with spit-up and bowel movements in infancy and only gains speed from there.
Hank: Better than talking about bills, I guess.
Me: HA! You get it, buddy, but we talked about those as well and current events and our creative projects, then saw Blade Runner 2049, which was EPIC, if you’ve read the original book or love the first film…
Hank: Which you do.
Me: Which I do… So, don’t you feel sorry for us, my friend, it was a great date. ANYWAY, we talked and listened to each other’s ideas and I applied a new method of dealing with the toxic-soup-sludge of hormones boiling inside you and it worked out better for both of us, but the hard part for me is trusting that you will always know your place and respect me. I have to trust that you will return to being respectful after a sass-tactic outburst and make a better choice once the hormones settle down and you remember you are loved and honored and an important member of this family. We’ve gotta do this growing up thing together or we’ll grow apart! We can’t let it divide us.
Hank: (eyes fixed on his now empty coffee cup) I never don’t want to be apart of this family.
Me: That is good to hear, because we would never recover if we lost you. You are vital and important.
Hank: So are you! You make the pancakes and papa makes the paper boats!
Me: FROM MEMORY! How does he do that?
Hank: Yah, and you never know when you’re going to need a paper boat until you need one right now!
Hank: Or pancakes.
Me: True Story.
Hank: And Molly makes us laugh.
Me: She does, indeed.
Hank: And… (pause)
Me: And you ask all the important questions. Without you, your papa, Molly and I wouldn’t look at the world through your keen observations and important, intense questions. We would miss the fine details of life that only you see. I couldn’t imagine not living with the daily challenge of helping you solve the riddles that only you’re clever mind could come up with.
Hank: I ask the questions…
Me: The tough questions.
Hank: And you answer them.
Me: We answer them, together.
Hank: I like that.