Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tank Talk (P.S. I Love You)
“Gabriel, you okay?”
“Do you need help?”
“Call if you need me.”
Gabe had been in the bathroom. Quite a few times. For extended periods. But he insisted he was fine. Just a little tummy upset. In retrospect, I should’ve opened the door. But I’ve gained some wisdom as the mom of a boy brood. I don’t enter their bathroom unless I’m summoned.
We had company over for dinner, and Gabe’s tummy turbulence got better. In fact, I forgot all about it. Until the next day.
“Mama, can you help me in the bathroom?” Zay called. “I can’t snap my jeans.”
“Sure,” I said. A summons. “I can get that.” I opened the bathroom door and knelt down to help Isaiah. But when I did, I noticed something on the floor. Way back. Behind the tank.
Samuel’s Nintendo DS. And a pair of ear buds.
Then I remembered Gabe’s tummy business.
At first I was angry. Sam’s DS was off-limits. Then I was sad. Gabe had been dishonest. And sneaky. Ear-bud-sneaky. Then came a wave of compassion. All my friends have a DS, Mom. Nonetheless, the Gabester was in trouble.
I retrieved the game from behind the tank and pushed it deep into the closet, behind hand towels and boxes of soap. Then I went to the kitchen for a Post-It and black Sharpie. I wrote a note, to my son, in bold, kindergarten print:
Gabriel, Come see Mom.
I stuck the note behind the tank, where the game stash had been.
There would be a lot more talking with Gabe, and not through the bathroom door. We’d talk about character. About honesty. About a man’s word. About a consequence. But as I thought about all the things I’d talk about with my little son, I wanted to be sure he understood one thing…
So I went back to the kitchen, grabbed the Sharpie, and retrieved the note from behind the tank.
And I wrote, in the same bold print:
P.S. I love you.
This post is for Mary R., who always tells her boys that she loves them. I learn from watching you.