Thursday, February 17, 2011


"How was school today?" I look at my son stab his food with the fork and place it in his mouth. Silence. "What specials did you have today?" I look at my son, head down, still eating. Quietly one word successfully gets through the vocal cords and out of his mouth between swallows. "Gym". "What kind of games do you play?" I ask. He has his head down, stabbing, chewing and scooping like he is all alone. "Hello?? What do you play in gym?" I ask again directly. More stabbing, scooping, chewing but no words. "What is the matter are you not talking!?" "Can you hear me, what did you do in..."  Abruptly he blusters out "I am trying to tell you!!" Angrily I bark, "You know what, now I don't want to know!!" With that exchange, the dinner conversation comes to an end. 

He slumps down in his chair, one hand holding up his head, still stabbing, scooping and chewing, just a bit slower than before. I slump also, irritated with him but very annoyed at myself. The rest of the meal is very quiet, as my wife sits between us, eggshells underfoot. After we finish, my son stands up and walks to get his homework sheet from his room. I sit for a minute, thinking about the exchange and also walk to his room. We meet in the darkened hallway and I place my hands on his shoulders. "I am sorry I snapped, it was uncalled for." He looks up at me and gives me a small hug. We walk back into the dining room and as I help clear the table and cleanup, he sits down and quietly writes his homework assignment. 


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