“Jeremy? Can you come into my room for a minute? I want to read you something.”
“All right, I guess,” he sighed unenthusiastically.
I heard him push back his chair and resisted the urge to cross my fingers. Sometimes he listens, most of the time he just wiggles around impatiently and changes the subject as soon as I finish speaking. I already had the tab open. I’d had it open for two hours while I worked up the guts to call him in.
As soon as I started reading, Jeremy began fidgeting.
“Ooo… I like this one, ‘with a “meh” sound and a wavy hand gesture’,” I looked over my shoulder. “Jeremy, stop banging around my pillow. I’m going to sleep with that tonight.”
He snickered. “Mom, you’re going to sleep with your pillow? That’s really weird.”
I grabbed the pillow and tossed it to the top of the bed. Then I repeated the previous comment, complete with hand gesture. I could see from Jeremy’s expression that he’d actually listened this time.
“Yeah, that’s someone describing their gender,” I added then kept reading, “…and ‘alien space prince’-”
“Wait? There’s royalty?” Jeremy interrupted. A grin crept across his face.
“Not really,” I replied. “It’s in their handle though and they used…” I paused to count, “seven words to describe their gender. Janitorqueer said he’s ‘a kaleidoscope of all genders’.”
Jeremy nodded then stayed silent for the rest of the replies.
“Well that’s it for me,” I said as I stifled a yawn. “I’m way too tired to stay up any longer. Go to sleep netbook.” I stood up then closed my netbook. It’s new and the hinges are a tad eager so it snapped shut.
“You just slammed that computer shut. Just wham…” Jeremy blurted.
“Yep,” I said before mimicking slamming something shut quite violently. “Just slammed it to bits.”
I held out my arms for a hug and stood on my tiptoes. Jeremy bent toward me with a wide smile and his expression startled me. Don’t get me wrong, Jeremy smiles and laughs often, but this time it was different. His smile was just that, an expression of happiness with no tinges of anything else. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen him with nothing but happiness on his face. This smile was real.
He let go then scooped his perfume off my dresser where he’s been stashing it. He gave himself a liberal squirt.
“I’m going to make myself some tea before bed,” he announced then he hurried down the hall, perfume bottle in hand.
I screw up quite regularly as a parent but reading that post to Jeremy was definitely the right thing.
Thanks for writing that Tumblr post Micah, it made a difference.