While Jackson was at a church activity last Wednesday, Jeremy and I took Major for a nature walk at the Greenway. By nature walk, I mean I didn’t calculate anyone’s heart rate or attempt specific mileage. We strolled. We looked. We chased squirrels. Nature-y stuff.
Just when I thought our conversation was safe and comfortable with hawks and their prey, Jeremy swung us in another direction (as usual) by asking why specifically Chuck and I could not conceive a child. Not generally, mind you. Not in a “God wanted us to adopt you” kind of infertility answer, but a real, biological, uncomfortable, and blushing kind of answer.
Yeah, I told him. I said all the words I needed to say so he could understand biologically why we were infertile. We also talked about DNA, explaining why his physical features resemble his biological aunt, why my face is similar to Grandma’s but my height is from Grandpa, why Chuck is the spitting image of Papaw. We talked about how he may get mannerisms from us simply because we live together and our habits rub off on one another, to which he replied, “Which is why I’m funny like Dad.” Yes, exactly.
Our ten year old is growing up fast. Since he is quickly unsatisfied with simple answers, Chuck and I have chosen to give Jeremy more information regarding these mature topics much sooner than we anticipated. We already know that Jackson is readily able to accept answers like, “Ah, buddy, you don’t need to worry about that stuff right now.” But Jeremy is wholly insulted by such a reply. He is mature and almost an adult, because being ten is being a pre-teen, which is almost a teenager, which is practically an adult. (As you can see, Jeremy is nearing retirement.)
All this is to say that I can no longer assume that a nature stroll with this child will be casual. Instead, it’s Jeremy’s primetime. It’s the opportunity to ask questions without little brother around, without other distractions, with Mom’s full attention.
Our conversations, as a whole, are shifting in this house. Case in point: On the way home from the pumpkin patch Friday night, we didn’t talk about autumn things. We didn’t talk about Halloween or costumes or the corn maze. We didn’t talk about carving the pumpkins we just picked.
No, we talked about what it means to be a wingman.
It all started when Jackson lovingly said to me, “Mom, you’re my wingwoman.”
“Where did you hear that word?” I asked.
“On Wimpy Kid,” he said.
“Do you know what a wingman is?”
“No,” said Jack.
To which Jeremy piped up and answered, “I do. It’s a guy who helps you get a girl.”
“Well, yes, I suppose that’s right,” I said.
Then Chuck entered the conversation and explained more fully what a wingman is, and I just sunk deep into the passenger seat wishing for the good ole days of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.