Unconditional Love

Me: I love you no matter what, no matter what you do. I will love you forever and always.

Tornado E: What if I kill someone?

Me: Don’t. (Sigh) But yes.

Tornado S: What if I make the death ray?

Me: Don’t! But yes.

Tornado A: What if I kill a lot of people?

Me: What? Don’t! But yes.

Tornado E: What if I take over a country?

Me: Don’t do that. But yes.

What if I build the Death Star?

What if I killed Daddy?

What if I killed you?

What if I kill my brothers?

What if I blow up a small planet?

What if I kill you and Daddy?

Really. I don’t know where I went wrong. I don’t know where this conversation went wrong. Lord, help me.

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Empty Threats

We are caught up in the Marvel Universe. We just need to see Thor: Ragnarok. Or really, the boys need to see Ragnarok. I saw it weeks ago. And my plan was to take the boys to see it this week in the second hand theaters.

It’s not there yet.

So I promised. Not this weekend because they’re with their dad. But next week I’ll take them to see Ragnarok.

Tornado E: Or I could ask Daddy.

Me: No. No. Your dad has already proven he can’t handle taking you to Marvel movies.

Tornado E: It was late. We hadn’t had dinner yet.

Me: You do not skip end credit scenes. You plan for that. You don’t come into movies late. You just don’t.

I mean. Honestly. I’m trying to raise kids who respect the story, respect the movie. Their dad should know better.

Tornado E: I’m going to ask Daddy to take us any ways.

Me: I won’t take you to see Black Panther.

I know. Harsh. But desperate times, people.

Tornado E: But Mama…..

I raised an eyebrow.

He pouted.

Then they got to talk to their dad on the phone several hours later.

Tornado E: Daddy! I’ve got an idea for the weekend.

Me: (hissing) Tornado E.

Tornado E: (laughing.) Nevermind, Daddy. (Sticks out his tongue at me and carries on his conversation with his dad)

I looked over at my dad and pointed at Tornado E and then gestured “What the hell?” My father has no sympathy. He laughed.

Me: Why does he have to be so mean?

My dad: He’s Got Our Genes.

My family is pranksters, jokesters, and storytellers. And we’re mean as hell just for the laughs. Stupid genes.

 

Little Devil

Me: Tornado A, what do you want to be for Halloween?

Tornado A: Satan!

Me: Ok.

My mother: You’re letting him be Satan for Halloween?

Me: Sure, why not?

My mother: Because. It’s not right. How about you go as a devil, Tornado A?

Tornado A: Satan is The Devil.

My mother eyed me. I shrugged. I envisioned a red suit with red shirt and tie.

***

The Fem Spot: Maybe you could call him something other than Satan? Doesn’t Paradise Lost have other names for him? Like Lucifer?

I had just finished telling her the costume plans. I decided to ask Tornado A what he wanted to wear, just in case he preferred red sweats and a red turtleneck (none to be found). He asked for a black suit and red shirt and tie. AND HORNS, MAMA!

Me: Well, I am Catholic and an English teacher. I should be able to come up with something….. The Morning Star, The Light Bringer, The Deceiver, The Fallen One. He Who Must Not Be Named. Wait. Wrong book.

The Fem Spot: You’ll think of something.

***

So it was my youngest son went as the Lord of Hell with a black suit, red shirt, red tie, a pitchfork, and HORNS. And the best joke I heard was at a Halloween event at the zoo.

Comicon Guy: Why isn’t it The Man, himself? Hello, sir. Good evening. But I believe you’re early, and that is a breach of contract.

 

 

Goodnight. Goodnight.

Me: Goodnight, Sweetheart.

Tornado E: Goodnight, Mama.

Me: I love you.

Tornado E: I love you too.

Me: I’m proud of you.

Tornado E: I’m proud of you too.

Me: (Smug smile) Thanks, baby.

Tornado E: I didn’t meant that. I was copying you. I didn’t mean to say that. (Sigh) I’m proud of you, Mama.

You have no idea how much that means to me.

Tag

The boys were lounging on my bed as we watched YouTube videos. Some Honest Trailers.

Me: What do you want to do now?

Tornado E: Nothing. We don’t have any time. Daddy will be here soon.

Me: Sure, we do. Tag.

I slapped his leg lightly. His brothers scrambled out of the bed and ran out of the room. I walked out. I walked down the hall.

Tornado A: Mama! Run!

Me: Naw. I can walk. Your brother is too slow to catch me.

That was it. Tornado E ran out of the room at me.

So started a ten-minute game of tag so funny that I nearly peed myself from laughing so hard.

Tornado E is not nearly so fast that I can’t play a game of Gotcha Last.

Asking Personal Questions

Tornado E: Mama, I need to interview you for homework.

Me: Ok, kiddo. What do you want to ask me?

Tornado E: (reading) Who was the most important person to influence you?

Me: As a child? As an adult? As a teacher or writer?

Tornado E: (in that exasperated teenage sigh and voice) Who is the most important person in your life?

Me: Well, the most important people in my life are my boys because I have made them my first thought with every choice I have made in the last 12 years. Ever since you were born, I have had to question and strengthen my beliefs, I have worked to become a better person and role model. For my boys.

Tornado E: That’s a stupid question and a stupid answer. Let’s begin again.

Me: Hey! That was a great answer!

Tornado E: All parents say that.

Yeah, no. And those who say it, do they do it?

Me: Well, what else do you want to know?

Tornado E: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done.

Crap.

A Snapshot of a Depressed Moment

Tornado E didn’t seem like himself. Hadn’t since he walked into the room. I was so excited to see my boys on a Sunday that did not belong to me. But Tornado E. He seemed distance.

So I sat next to him, and we stared at the blank TV, sitting in the middle of the play area. We just sat.

Me: Is there anything wrong?

He shrugged.

Me: That’s ok. I understand. But I want you to talk to me. I’m not letting you go silent. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok not to be happy. But I’m your mama, and I will always love you. No matter what.

I hugged him. He leaned into me.

Being twelve. Not getting enough sleep. Home life. School. Who knows?

But we’ll get through it together.