It took an extreme amount of control for my husband Jason and I to not pull our vehicle over that sunny afternoon.
It would not have been for the customary moment of an “understanding” between us and an unruly kid.
It would have been to allow us to break out in laughter without having an accident.
Our son James had just given us a few of his thoughts on careers, marriage and life. And for a nine-year-old kid, you can say he has his priorities in order.
“How come we always have birthday parties at home,” he asked, beginning his conversation.”How come we can’t rent places out like High Heaven or Pump it Up in Jackson?”
Feeling he needed complete honesty, I told him those places were expensive to rent and that we just didn’t have that kind of money.
“Do newspaper people not make a lot of money,” he asked.
“Well, sometimes you can,” I replied. “But Daddy and I do it because we love the newspaper business and not for the money.”‘
With a perplexed look on his face, James looked at us like we were off our rockers.
“I’m not going in the newspaper business then,” he said. “I am going to join the Army so I can fight bad guys. I want to do something important.”
Part of me was hoping he would change his mind later in life. The mother in me would want my son safe behind a desk rather than being in a combative situation.
But the other part of me glowed with the pride in the level of love James had for hs country and fellow man.
But his next line brought me out of the clouds.
“I’m not gonna get married either,” he said. “Once you get married, your wife wants to start having babies. And then you have to give all your money to them.”
Jason and I immediately broke out into laughter. But for a moment, I could have sworn Jason had that "you’re right” look in his eyes.
“I hate to tell you son, but there is going to come a day when you will want a wife,” Jason said.
“No, I won’t,” James said, scrunching up his nose. “Girls have the cooties. I don’t have time for all that.”
“Son, I give you about four more years,” Jason said. “You will begin to notice girls.”
James went onto to explain that he had women figured out. They always want something. They cry a lot. And they don’t let you do cool stuff...according to James.
“Momma is like that,” James continued.
Maybe James does have it figured out. I have my moments, honestly. But I never considered myself a crybaby.
Our ride home that afternoon ended with Jason and I scratching our heads and wiping the tears of laughter off our faces. The things your kids say can really leave you amused and puzzled.
But at least they’re honest. They have no filters. But they really lay it out on the table sometimes like true professionals.
Watching my son make his way up our front porch made me smile. With his book bag dragging, socks sagging around his ankles and hair sticking up from an afternoon of recess...there is the next American Dream at its best.
A young boy who would fight for his country and defend the honor of others. But still hasn’t got girls figured out.
Jason followed after him, and I thought the same thing. He was a man who was giving back with his writing talent. And...still maybe hasn’t quite figured out the opposite sex yet. Maybe he never will...
And as our daughter Elsie broke down in tears because a butterfly wouldn’t land on her...I started wondering if maybe James had a point.