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A Friday date with a boy

Submitted by on Friday, 23 April 2010 No Comment

It started as a bribe one Friday when I needed to take Dad’s weekly package to the post office but Boots was starving because snack had been something odious that day at school. It probably was cottage cheese.

“Tell you what,” I said. “Stop whining and be a good listener at the post office and we’ll go to Taco Bell after the post office.”

“Bleck. I hate Taco Bell.”

“Huh. I thought you liked it there. They have a fountain.”

He instantly brightened. “Oh, yeah, the fountain. I love the fountain. Let’s go!”

Granted, it’s not much of a fountain – it’s barely bigger than Boots, and you don’t have to look too hard to glimpse pieces of plumbing. As far as Boots is concerned, though, it’s as fine as any cafe along the Champs-Élysées. That’s because it’s his and mine alone. The first place in a world dominated by a big brother that’s ever been “our” place.

I’ve always been a bit sad that Boots and I had never had a place. Big Guy and I had had plenty of them in the two years before That Baby Who Ruined His Life showed up. There was breakfast at McDonald’s on Sunday. The library’s baby program on Mondays The neighborhood coffee shop and duck pond on Saturday mornings.

I tried, when Big Guy started kindergarten last summer, to create something special just for Boots. He was preoccupied with when Big Guy would get off from school, though, and flat wasn’t interested in mommy time.

Maybe I was trying too hard. Maybe special can’t be manufactured. Maybe it has to just happen.

Every Friday now, as the small fountain gurgles nearby and the breeze flutters through branches overhead, Boots smiles, chats and spills his guts. He shares important details about his day, confiding things I never hear about the other four days of the week.

“Mommy, I made good choices at circle time today. I stopped talking because I just got tired of saying words. I got a sticker but my choices weren’t good enough to get an eraser.”

Or, “Mommy, the Earf doesn’t really have a face. They just draw it with a face because they want us to think of how we can make the Earf happy.”

Or, “Mommy, I can’t reach everything because I have little hands. When I grow up, I’ll have big hands and I’ll be able to reach everything up to the sky.”

And to think that these philosophical gems cost me only the price of a burrito and a quesadilla – “But don’t get any sauce on mine. I hate sauce.”

I smile despite his use again of the word “hate,” because even though it took almost two years , Boots and I finally have carved out a tiny time and place that’s just ours alone. Ours and the fountain’s, that is.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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