Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Deep, and the not so Deep

Paul and I have struck up some interesting conversations lately. His brain is a fascinating piece of machinery that I don't think I will ever truly figure out. His questions often lead to deep religious discussions that I hope open his mind a bit to the world outside of our little suburban universe, and then... the conversation ends faster than it began. For example: Yesterday he asked me what gelatin was. I asked why he wanted to know and he said that some of the kids in his class aren't allowed to have it. For the third year in a row he is in a classroom with students who have extreme nut allergies. I am a lactose sensitive vegetarian and he has recently been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Conversations about food restrictions are not new. But I had a feeling the gelatin one was more related to religious practices, so I began explaining first what it was and then why some families choose not to ingest it. He seemed intrigued and we continued to talk about different religious practices and what, in a nutshell, each of the major religions believed. Our community is relatively diverse and I was able to use different families for examples. I wanted to make sure he understood the concept of freedom of religion and that he was free to choose something other than what we currently practice. All in all, I felt pretty good about our conversation. A few weeks back he had asked about the devil and I worried that what I had said then may have scared, confused or bewildered him. It is hard to tell with Paul. You give him an answer and he thinks it over, then asks if he can have a snack, go to a friends', practice his math facts on my tablet. I try to reengage but when he says the conversation is over, it's over. The gelatin discussion was no exception. After my explanation about who believes Jesus was the savior and who doesn't and why some people don't eat certain animal products or walk to worship and how he is free to visit any church at any time, he looked at me and said, "Your vocal cords move up and down when you talk." Hmm. Guess that was the end of that conversation.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leaving Home So Soon?

My oldest son no longer wants to spend any time with me. I didn't think this was going to happen until he was at least 10, or maybe even 12. But nope, at seven he's decided that I am no longer cool. There is a group of kids up the street who are all his age or one year older, and they are way more fun than mom and little brother. His disappearance down the street started with his kindergarten girlfriend. ("Maa-ummm," I can hear him say, "she's just my friend now.") He begged me to let him go to her house and I finally relented, opening up a pandora's box of sorts. We live on a court that is on one end of a long street containing several other courts. Because the other courts are only on one side and the feeder street comes to a dead end, you can bike along the sidewalk for several "blocks" without ever having to cross a street. Remember as a kid when mom said, "Go as far as you can before you get to the corner"? Well, that takes a while in our neighborhood. And I figured what the heck, he should be okay as long as he doesn't have to cross the street. So I let him go. And he discovered that the boy next door to his "girlfriend" was pretty cool. As was the boy next to him. And the boy next to him. And the boy two houses in the other direction. Now he never wants to stay home. There are kids down in our court, but he doesn't like them nearly as much. (And there is some drama there that I won't get into on my blog.) So off he goes, riding his bike into the sunset at every possible opportunity. Occasionally the boys will make their way back to our house and look for frogs in the backyard, but it is much cooler to hang out at the other end of the street. To be honest, I am a little jealous. The parents down there seem like a lot of fun, but it's not like I can just ride my bike down there, ring the doorbell and say, "Hey, you wanna play?" Life is much simpler when you're seven. And you have an outgoing personality like my son and not a hermit-like personality. Like me.