We may not always eat dinner together as a family, but when we do have an opportunity to sit around the table, the strangest and best conversations usually happen.
These are the moments when I get to find out how my adolescents’ minds work. We debate things like the historical accuracy of the video game Assassin’s Creed (oh help me), or discuss the scientific probabilities of time travel with Dr. Who (sure, why not). Together, we’ve covered everything from math equations and geography to serious issues like drugs and yes, even sex, including uncomfortable questions directed to us parents about our own misspent youth (okay, the Carpenter’s was misspent, mine was just misdirected).
And then there are questions like this, from our teenage daughter: “Mom, if you had to marry again, what kind of job would the person you marry have?”
The Carpenter choked on his mashed potatoes.
“Go ahead, Kell. Answer the question,” he said, adding a wink.
Naturally, I explained that if I had to do it all over again, I would marry the Carpenter, because love isn’t about occupation or income. It just isn’t.
Eye roll. She wasn’t buying it. She wanted an answer that suggested I would surely do things differently, if I had the chance. Who wouldn’t want more from life? It was an intense question.
So I explained that when I went to university, the joke in my household was to scour campus and find a professional man to “marry up.” My dad would tease me about finding a lawyer or doctor, anyone with guaranteed high-income status and a good golf swing. It was a reasonable request. Hey, look, I tried. I just didn’t have the draw for such men. Like ever.
I met the Carpenter in my first year. He was fun, hard working and way more interesting than the clowns in my class. And he had a tool belt. Hello? The heart wants what the heart wants. True love isn’t about status, I said.
That wasn’t an acceptable answer apparently, because my daughter repeated the question. She looked at her father (whom she adores) in his work clothes and remarked, with obvious disdain, that construction workers always came home dirty, sweaty and with rough hands. Poor girl, she had no idea how sexy everything she just said was, but when her parents exchanged a blushing look, she was disgusted.
Fine. I told her I once fantasized about marrying a history professor or a constitutional lawyer or a successfully published author. You know, marry up. The grass is always greener on the tenure side.
Now I’ve met almost all of these professional people and as wonderful as they are, as nice as their lifestyles can be, I’ll take the construction guy in the tool belt with the rough hands. It works for me. It always has. Love is not status.
The moral of this story is: if we went out for dinner more often I would not have to respond to such challenging questions. Yet, these moments of simple connection, just like the love that inspired them, are always the magic moments we cannot plan. Kismet. Pass the salt.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.