Here’s an old favorite from my blog at Good Housekeeping.com. The part of the 12-year-old was played by my now 13-year-old, who still loves to listen to the radio and share funny things on TV and in books with me.
We were sitting in the car, in the garage, again. Just the two of us, listening to the end of yet another National Public Radio segment. My 12-year-old, Nicholas, and I didn’t want to miss the On the Media® show on whether Google is making us stupid. But the rest of our family obviously didn’t feel the same way.
“Aren’t you coming, Nick?” my husband raised his voice over the radio, which I’d just turned up, as he grabbed his leather coat and the church bulletin from my mini-van on Sunday morning.
“He’s listening to this,” I implored. He shut the car door and went inside with our fourth grader, who’d already dashed from the van to change out of his choir clothes.
“I wish the radio had Tivo so we could pause it,” Nick lamented. And then we finished listening to the segment in silence.
Finally, I’d gotten what I’d wished for when I was his age. Back then, I’d gone to dinner at my friend Paula’s house one night, when her father asked each person to bring up a topic for discussion. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I do know it was thoughtful and wise.
I so enjoyed this dinner conversation that, the next night, I asked my family to do the same. And then my plan quickly disintegrated, as my parents began their own private conversation about the mortgage, or whatever, and my brother lobbed peas into my glass of milk. So much for thoughtful and wise.
I’ve long yearned for someone I can discuss current events and such with – and that someone isn’t my husband. First of all, he’s a headline skimmer. His involvement with the newspaper is so minimal, I can’t tell when he’s actually read it, because when he’s done with it, it looks like it just came out of the bag.
I, on the other hand, get deeply entrenched in the newspaper. When I finish reading (not skimming) it, it’s folded all wrong with sections intermingled and articles ripped out…which is why my husband always tries to beat me to it.
Also, he doesn’t seem to have any follow-up questions or added thoughts. If, for example, I say, “The FTC is thinking of making a law holding mom bloggers liable for product claims,” he might nod ever so slightly, but he won’t question, probe or otherwise engage, unless I drag him into it. If he were a computer, it would say, “Not responding” across his screen. It’s just the way he is, and I love him anyhow, just like I love my parents and my brother.
But now, there’s Nicholas. Though, he, too, is a man of few words, it only applies if I’m asking him to clean his room or take a shower. Otherwise, he’s been all about the thoughtful and wise lately. And I’m eating it up.
This weekend, we went to lunch together – just the two of us – and he read aloud passages from Lemony Snicket’s Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid.
“Mom,” he said, and I looked up from my salad. Then he read: “It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice cream sandwiches.”
We both laughed.
“I love the way he writes,” I said – and Nick agreed. He even said so.
“He’s got an autobiography out,” he said. “Let’s get it.”
I pictured reading passages out loud to each other – between NPR segments, after we’re done with the newspaper – and I agreed. And now, I can’t wait for our conversation.
Share, share, that’s fair: Tell us about something your kids and you are interested in that your spouse doesn’t care about.