He’s 9, I’m 43. He spends his days in his 3rd grade classroom and I spend mine in an office at work. He talks to his friends about video games and I talk to mine about books. There is nothing remotely similar about our lives and yet we live in parallel lines.
I asked my oldest what he talks to his buddies about. To me, that’s code for “are you talking about sex yet?” That maybe gives you a clue to my frame of mind and what kind of conversation I was revving up for. He said “video games.”
“Oh, video games,” I countered suspiciously. “What video games are guys playing these days, are you still into Minecraft.” Minecraft, in case you’re not familiar is a great game for strategic young minds, whereby they can build things and I know it’s perfectly age appropriate.
“No,” he says, “most of my friends are into Halo and Call of Duty Black Ops.”
Oh great, we’ve been down this road many times. Both games are violent and absolutely not appropriate for young growing brains, and frankly I’m tired of trying to explain why. But instead, I say this, “you know I don’t get to do the same thing some of my other friends get to do. Sometimes is hard because I want to, but I know it’s just not the right thing to do.”
Just when I think the point has been made and I’m in the clear, he asks “like what?”
Two things come to mind, alcohol and sex. Speaking of inappropriate, I am treading on dangerous territory here. However, I decide to be upfront. After all, I’m the one who brought it up.
Before I move on, I’m divorced. Divorce is messy and even under the best of circumstances the world of single moms and the choices we make are sketchy at best. I know many well-meaning women who get divorced and tumble far off the deep end out of shear brokenness and despair. Out of the deepest gratitude I have found a community of people who have kept me on the straight and narrow, but it’s been hard.
And so I say “Drinking. I have a lot of friends who drink a lot, but I choose not to because I know it’s not best for me. Also, my other single friends have boyfriends and they want to live with them and I won’t do that because I know it’s not the best thing for my family.”
His face softened, he smiled and leaned in for the hug of a lifetime, “Thanks Mom, I love you.”
In that moment, the weight of my choices came crashing in on me and not only was I teaching my son about choices through my words I was teaching him through my actions. Even though our lives look completely different, we are on parallel lines and he’s watching my every move to see how it’s done.