Dark Knight. Bright Night.

Posted November 3, 2011 by jimhigley

If there’s one thing my high school son is, it’s blunt.

He reminds me of my great-great-aunt, Dot, who had a habit of simply saying what she was thinking. And, as unflattering as it might have been, she always sounded so sweet – like she was serving a plate of peach cobbler. Topped with ice cream. My son is exactly the same. He can spit out what some people might consider to be very abrasive comments – but he presents them in the nicest way.

I might ask him an innocent question like, “Hey, I’m heading to the mall to run a quick errand. Do you have any interest in coming?”

And, as opposed to just giving me a simple “no” he’s more likely to reply (in the same tone someone else might say, “Hey, what a pretty rainbow!”), “No. I really don’t want to be seen with you.”

“Gee,” I might shoot back. “I didn’t really need the reasoning behind it.”

“I’m just being honest, Dad. You want me to be honest, don’t you? You don’t want me to be a kid who lies and isn’t truthful, do you? Wow!”

Obviously, this kid needs a crash course in diplomacy. But, as with all things involved with being a parent, I put my trust in time, patience and thick skin. I guess it would bother me if we didn’t get along. We do. Wonderfully. In fact he tells me regularly that all his friends like me. Maybe that buys him a little more tolerance on my end.

That’s why last Saturday night, I was floored. He had been watching afternoon football on the television. Taking naps off and on. But, when I finally made him get up around 5:00 and asked him to talk with me about his plans for the evening, he hit me with a curve ball.

“I think I just want to stay home tonight, Dad. I don’t feel like going out with people. You want to watch a movie here? Just you and me?”

I went over to the couch he was lying on and sat down next to him to talk. It also gave me a chance to feel his forehead which I knew was going to register a doozy of a fever. But, he was fine.

“Sounds great,” I told him. “I need to run to the grocery store. Why don’t I warm you up some pizza before I leave? You eat and we can pick something out when I get home.”

While grocery shopping, I thought about picking up some special treats to eat. Carmel corn? Maybe splurge in the frozen treat section and come home with some Bagel Bites to warm up and chow on during the movie. But I decided against it. Anytime I make the slightest “thing” out of anything, I get in trouble.

“I’m home,” I shouted as I walked in the back door of our house.

“Hurry up,” he yelled back. “Come in here. I already picked a movie for us.”

“Just great,” I thought to myself. I was prepared for some really bad teenage humor. And I was prepared to keep my mouth shut. But, what I wasn’t prepared for was what he said next.

“I got us ‘Dark Knight’,” he started to say. “You’ve never seen it and I thought you’d like to watch that. Is that okay?”

Okay? Okay? He now just turned this night into a double-play. First, he suggested we hang. And second, he goes and put my interests ahead of his?

We are making progress, folks.

Now, if I can just get him to agree to be seen publically with me in the grocery store next time.