“Mommy, I just miss you right now.”
He’s calling from school, not from a cell phone, but from the real live phone in his classroom.
I tell him I miss him too while he’s at school, which isn’t entirely true, since I seem to have no problem going six hours without checking in. But I’m not sure honesty is the best policy right now. Still, I assure him he’s not alone in his sentiments, and I look forward to the end of the day when the three of us will be together again. Which is, in large part, mostly true.
(Insert parental guilt for not wanting more time with my cherubim every hour of the day. Instead of ‘horrible’ mom, I prefer the word ‘introverted.’)
“Also, Mommy, I need some football facts. I would like to write about football.”
“Sure, Tuck. I can help you with that when you get home.”
“No, I’m working on it now. I’m writing about football at my desk. And I need two more facts. Hold on.”
I kid you not, he went to his desk to get his paper, came back to the phone, and read me the three facts he had already written down.
“You can get a touchdown. Sometimes you get tackled. You can catch the ball. That’s what I have, Mommy. Give me two more.”
I’m pretty sure this is not what we had in mind when his teacher and I arranged for him to call me as needed. I’m not to be his First Grade Phone-A-Friend for brainstorming help.
Still, here we were, on the phone. And he was asking me, of all people, for football facts.
He was asking me.
I appreciate the confidence, kiddo, but this was totally your dad’s realm.
“Let’s see. A football field is 100 yards long.”
I hear him thinking. I’m sure his tongue is poking out to the left, as it always does when he’s writing. “Okay. I got that one.”
“Could you write down your favorite team?”
“Are you kidding me? That’s embarrassing.” I hadn’t realized it was such a personal question.
“Okay…” I prayed out loud. “Jesus, please give me a fact about football right now.”
Tuck and I waited in silence for a miracle from on high.
And then I said, “Oh, I know! The first footballs were made of pig skin.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“I’m not kidding you.”
“The first football team was pigs?”
“No. No. The first football. Think of the ball, Tuck. The brown leathery part used to be made from the skin of pigs. From pig’s skin.”
“Seriously? Are you kidding me?”
“Seriously. Not kidding.”
“I’m so writing that down. Okay. Bye, Mommy.
I should have added: Every good football team has a great marching band. That’s a fact.