The phone rings. I immediately recognized the number of one of Tyler’s friends. Not really wanting to, I pick up.
An extremely bored but familiar voice says, “Hey.”
“Hey,” I respond back and wait, but that was all I was getting.
“Do you want to speak with Tyler?” I prompt.
Rolling my eyes (I am years away from them getting stuck there), I yell, “Phone! Tyler!” but there is no response.
Tyler is a very focused boy, and I happen to know that he is watching an extremely important episode of “Sponge Bob.” “Tyleeeeer!!! PHONE!”
That did it. Something penetrated. My shaggy-haired boy slides in. “What?” He asks, clueless.
“Here.” I hand him the phone. Instantly, my son becomes animated. I listen in fascination to him planning some complicated play date. Uh, I mean, hang out. At 10, it’s a hang out. My bad.
Tyler finishes his conversation, which consists of a bunch of “yeahs” and “okays,” then reports to me.
“Okay, I’m waiting for Jack and then I’m going to Rick’s. We’re going…” The phone interrupts and Tyler immediately answers.
“Oh hi, Luc.”
He instinctively walks into the other room for privacy, where some heavy negotiations are in play.
After a few minutes, he returns. “Okay, Jack is going to Luc’s, so I’m going…”
The phone rings again. I’m guessing there has been a breakdown in the talks.
“Hold on.” He grabs for it and then runs into the other room.
In one minute, he’s back. “Okay, this is what’s going to happen. Because Jack talked to Luc first, now we’re both going to Luc’s.”
This is what’s going to happen? Who is this kid?
Unbelievably, the phone rings again. I don’t even look at it. “For you?” Tyler smiles sheepishly and disappears. The negotiations resume.
When he returns, it appears there has been a settlement. “Okay, so Jack is coming here and we’re walking to Luc’s. Rick’s out of the picture because Jay called him, but didn’t call Luc and they don’t want to hang out with so many people because Brian was already going there. It’s okay, because when Rick and Brian are together sometimes it gets, you know, anyway, so we’re just going to Luc’s.”
I’m speechless and exhausted, but have enough strength to raise a brow.
He gets it immediately. “Is that okay?”
He smiles his goofy, boyish smile. I am wildly in love. He is still so much my baby and so solidly boy, and the next stage stands knocking at the door.
“Mom! Jack’s here! Can we go?”
I follow to where his friend waits. They exchange a very cool and manly, “Hey.”
I stand at the screen, watching them go. They start off walking. By the second house away, they are arm in arm, skipping for the half block to Luc’s. Then, there’s some pushing. Tyler’s friend is on the ground. Wait. He’s up. They’re arm in arm again, a skipping to Luc’s house they go.
My heart skips with them. My first real pre-teen moment. Sigh. I was on the verge of serious sappiness, when the phone interrupts my thoughts. It has begun.
— Alisa Schindler
Alisa Schindler is freelance writer who chronicles the sweet and bittersweet of life in the suburbs on her highly entertaining blog www.icescreammama.com. Her essays have been featured on Mamapedia.com and Bonbonbreak.com as well as in the book, Life Well Blogged. She is a member of “Yeah Write,” an online community for writers, where she has won the Jury Prize multiple times in the group’s weekly essay writing contest. She has just completed her first novel that she feels comfortable showing to someone other than her mother.