Tornado E: I know what I’m going to be when I grow up.
Me: Do. You know what you’ll do. You’ll always be Tornado E.
Tornado E: I know. But I’m going to be a stay-at-home dad.
I wasn’t expecting that. I smiled. I had forgotten how cool it was to hear a kid say s/he wanted to grow up to do the thing you did. (A memory of a little girl’s voice whispered in my head, ” Miss ———, I want to be a teacher like you when I grow up.” Even though I was only a teacher’s assistant.) It was so much cooler to have your own child say it. Imitation and flattery and all that. But instead I said-
Tornado E: Because I want to stay home and play with my kids!
Me: It’s pretty awesome being able to stay home and take care of you boys. I get to play with you and teach you. You’re pretty fun to be with.
Tornado E smiled.
Me: Do whatever makes you happy and still allows you to take care of your responsibilities.
Tornado E: What’s responsibilities?
Me: As a grown up, you’ll need to pay bills and buy food and stuff. You’ll need to take care of yourself, and if you have a family, you’ll have to take care of them. Someone will need to earn the money. If you decide you want to be a stay-at-home dad, then you should marry someone who supports you in that.
Support you emotionally and mentally as well as financially.
Tornado E: Mommy, how do you make money?
A loaded question, a complicated question, and he doesn’t know it. It should be simple to explain, except for the separation.
Me: Before you were born, your dad and I decided that it would be best for the family if I stayed home to raise you and your brothers. Your dad has worked hard to support us ever since. I’ve worked hard to take care of you and your brothers. And the house. So your dad gives (Gives? Gives? Is that the right word?) me money so that I can run the household as I take care of you.
Tornado E: That makes sense.
I kissed his forehead and chuckled.
Me: I’m glad you think so. But this will change one day because I’m going to go back to work.
Tornado E: I know. You’re going to be a teacher!