Friday, September 10, 2010
"Mom? Does everyone have to go to college?" he asks, legs kicking the breakfast bar, fingers separating cheese and sauce from pizza crust.
"No, honey, not everyone has to go to college," I say, reluctantly, because it would be my personal preference that everyone go to college.
"Do you have to go to college to be a dad?" he asks.
"No, you can be a dad without going to college," making myself squirm all the more because I have a strong bias there, too, even though STM's dad is Dad of the Year and never went to college and I know plenty of other such stories. Still.
"Well, then I'm not going to college," he announces.
I think he, at 14 and in 8th grade, is just discovering that he is not on the same path as his peers. This is the good news. This is the bad news. This is the three hanky news.
"That's it, I'm telling J., my girlfriend, tomorrow, not to go to college. I want to hurry up and be a dad."
"Well, honey, if she wants to go to college, you need to let her do that. There is time for kids after college," I say/plead/pray. How desperately I want him to have children in his life, if not as a father, as something... I want for him what he wants for himself, but he cannot even take care of himself. He can't brush his own teeth. He needs to be reminded to pee. He cannot use a knife and fork together. There are a thousand reasons why he can't be a father, and I don't have the heart to tell him this now. Maybe ever.
He lets the conversation fall.
And I let the tears.