I place the last platter on the table and sit down. My family starts digging into mashed potatoes, peas and crock pot roast chicken. It’s one of their favorite meals so there isn’t much talking at first. While I’m pouring gravy onto my chicken I ask the kids if they did anything interesting at school today.
“We had a lock-out drill,” my nine-year-old son Owen tells me.
“Oh?” I ask. I steady my hand as I pour the gravy, trying to pretend it doesn’t bother me that my babies need to participate in lock-down drills. It would be nice if the ugly, violent side of the world never touched them. But in the end, we’re all touched by it one way or another. I’m glad the school tries to prepare them.
“What do you do during a lock-out drill?” my husband asks.
“You get down low and wait for an announcement,” Owen says matter-of-factly. “And if you hear the fire alarm you don’t go outside.”
“Yes. Because sometimes the bad person pulls the fire alarm to get people to come out of the building. If we’re supposed to leave there will be an announcement. Can I have the gravy Mom?”
He’s lucky there is any left I was so distracted while I was pouring it.
“What’s Hitler,” Owen asked as I passed him the gravy.
“Not what, who.” I correct him. “Adolph Hitler was a person. He was the leader of Germany during World War II,” I said. “He ordered the deaths of anyone who wasn’t what he considered perfect—Jewish people, disabled people…”
“No. For the most part they weren’t rounded up unless they were…”
“Yes. Gay or disabled, or helping someone who was being rounded up.”
“What’s gay?” James asks.
“You know how I love daddy and he’s a man? It’s when someone loves someone who’s the same gender—like when a woman loves a woman or a man loves a man.”
“Oh yeah! Like Piper’s moms.”
“But two dads couldn’t have kids. You need a mom for that.”
“There I ways,” I tell them. “Two men could adopt a child.”
“What’s adopt?” James asks.
“It’s when someone brings a child into their family when the child’s parents couldn’t raise a baby themselves.”
“Mom, look at my volcano!” James says as he pours gravy over a mountain of mashed potatoes. “Oh no! The people have to run away.” He pushes the peas aside as if they’re people running from the flow of lava. Our conversation eases into something simpler—imaginary natural disasters.
“May I be excused please?” Owen asks. His plate is empty. I never saw him eat. I’ve only managed a few forkfuls myself.
“Sure Sweetie,” I tell him.
“What’s for dessert?” he asks.
“Bourbon… I mean… ice cream.”
Today I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writing workshop. Today’s prompt was to capture what it’s like to spend a day or a moment talking with your kids. My kids provide me with great
fodder inspiration for this kind of writing assignment.