Car conversations

Some of the best conversations I have with the boys are in the car.

“Mom, I think I’m gonna grow up to be somebody,” one says to me while he rides shotgun. He says this to me like he came up with the resolution all on his own. Like puzzle pieces that just happened to fit: “him” and “being somebody”.

“Really?” I say, “Hmm, I think I agree.”

“Yeah, I’m going to do stuff, important stuff, because, like, I can,” he accentuates ‘can’ with a tinge of awe. Still with the tone that he is just letting me know. As if I have nothing to do with the cell by cell development of his being, as if I had not been the one to chart his course of self esteem, as if I am not the one who endeavors daily to let him know how much he is capable of. This why mom’s have Cheshire Cat grins. Which I bestow upon him. Moments like these are not the time to take credit. Nope. All he needs to know right then is that mom approves, mom agrees, mom is happy.

The other said to me, “Mom, when I become an artist, I won’t make very much money, but you can always live with me.” I look at him in the rearview mirror, his head shifting in the back seat so he can see me.

“Thanks, honey,” I say, sort of wondering where this is going, “umm why don’t you expect to make much money being an artist?”

“I don’t like money,” he stares out the Jeep window, nose wrinkling,  “it’s gross, it causes war and hobo’s. My art won’t be for money, even after I go to Art School, I’ll do little jobs for my brother, he will have lots of money. But, still, I want you to live with me when you’re old, I’ll take care of you.”

“You got it. I’ll wash your paint brushes and sharpen your pencils.” I smile as he laughs, imaging me as a white haired old lady shuffling about his artists’ loft. Maybe he is feeling some separation anxiety, maybe he is feeling left out of moment that his brother and I were sharing, something brought it up, and hopefully he’ll keep showing me until I figure it out, or he stops feeling uncomfy.

It’s funny to see the future through the eyes of my children. What they anticipate, what they are concerned about, what they are blind to. The assumptions they have about who they will be and who I will be to them.

Today I am their driver, and just like one not knowing how much of a role that a parent plays in the formation of their child’s self esteem, they have no clue what being the driver means. They don’t know all of the details of driving, how my attention span is layered and fractured. They don’t see everything I do to get them from Point A to Point B safely.

And I’m thinking, hoping, guessing, that at this stage of their lives, that is a very good thing. When they are 16 and start learning to drive, then they’ll know. When they are young adults and face some basic life decisions on their own, then they’ll know. But for now, I get to drive and have my Cheshire Cat grin.

Car conversations