Nate, Karen and I were headed to a political meeting earlier today. Nate came along, as he usually does, since Friday is an off-day from school.
“Umm, what should I do for lunch?” he asked. Nate always wants to know where his next meal is coming from. Like Robert Downey’s character in Tropic Thunder, Nate gets excited about his foods.
“What do you want for lunch?” Karen answered.
“New York Pizzeria!” We had some leftovers from our traditional Wednesday pizza night, but Nate’s boycotting reheated food. He needs fresh slices these days. A real gourmand!
“I’ll take you after the meeting,” I offered.
“I can always count on you.”
That was a thunderbolt, a new, never before heard statement and expression of a feeling well beyond plain thanks. It came as a shock to both of us.
“Your Dad always takes care of you, doesn’t he Nate?” Karen said.
I didn’t need any more. Those words were enough. I thought back to the toughest of our times together, when I would force him to hunker down to his homework and he would lash out. We would end up on the floor, me holding him until he regained his composure. When the storm clouds dissipated, we would resume our work and Nate would say, matter-of-factly, with no trace of hostility, “Ah, I hate you Dad.” I knew, at that very moment, he did, though he harbored no long term ill feelings.
I have to say, I prefer today’s comment.