When Erin was here, we were driving home from the mall, and she called one of her daughters in college. They proceeded to have a twenty-minute conversation. They talked about finals, and packing up the dormitory room. They reviewed what she would need to bring for her trip east, and who she should contact regarding her new living quarters. They hypothesized that perhaps the new roomates wouldn't mind a small pet, but, either way, that would have to be decided soon. In between, there was some discussion about overall health. It was a far-ranging exchange.
When Erin hung up, I told her how the conversation would have sounded between me and Two:
"Are you done with finals?"
"How'd you do?"
"Are you packed to go?"
"Okay. Text me when you get on the road."
"You got it, Mommy-O."
And then he would forget to text me.
Case in point: Two took a trip this weekend with the concert choir. They travelled to Williamsburg, Virginia to compete, but had fun stops along the way. The first night they enjoyed a dinner cruise in Norfolk. The following day they performed in a competition, and visited Busch Gardens. On the last day they meandered through Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Two did not text us to say he had arrived safely. He reached out at 5:50 P.M. Saturday to say, "I love you guys. Y'know, in case the world ends." The next, and final, text arrived Sunday night. "One of you needs to be at the school at 7:30." That was it for the whole weekend.
When I pulled up to get him, he was wearing 1980's sunglasses, holding a giant, stuffed banana, and carrying a paper sign. I asked him about the weekend, and got bare details, except for descriptions of the crazy rollercoasters that he absolutely would never ride, and the restaurant where they ate in Baltimore. It's called "Dick's," and apparently, the wait-staff abuses you while you eat. The paper sign was actually a hat, with an obnoxious comment about Two scrawled across it. I can't believe I didn't come up with this idea.
When we got home, the Captain asked about the competition. Two knew the concert choir took first place, but couldn't remember in which category! He did, however, regale his father with more stories about Dick's, and other rude hats. So, that's all we learned about the trip.
I don't recall Two being particularly quiet as a child, so I think this reticence is an acquired teenage trait. It doesn't really bother me, because our house has plenty of chatty Chucks. I think boys, in general, are less likely to spill their feelings; so if I want to know something, I must put on my pith helmet and dig. And, if that fails, I just talk at them about the important issues. (Please see "Condom Shopping.")
I do wonder if my propensity to bark orders has contributed to this dearth of dialogue. Maybe if I was more inquisitive, more probing, they might open up more. Oh wait, I forgot that they don't listen to me after the fourth word. Thus, the boys and I will never have the same conversational relationship my sister has with her daughters. But, as they all grow and reach teen-hood, I think I will have something better. Silence.