new york city kid in arkansas
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It took two months for Huck to drop his phone and shatter the glass, a painful and inevitable experience for the modern child. Troy picked him up from Quiz Bowl last week, and after Huck got situated in the passenger seat he handed his old man his damaged device and began to cry. Troy texted me the heads up, and after a few back and forths about how to fix it and how Huck should help pay for it, I ended the exchange with something like: “Tell him it’ll be okay. It’s just a thing.” Earlier that day I’d received news from loved ones about the end of a young marriage and the end of a middle-aged life. You could say I had some fresh perspective.

Because I’m rehearsing a play and working full-time, and because Huck has weekend commitments with All Region Choir and Quiz Bowl tournaments, we aren’t seeing each other much these days. He offered to help me run lines the other night, really just an excuse to spend time with me since we were both home at the same time. I was at the section of the play where (spoiler alert) Charlotte dies. ¬†As I sadly said the line, “I don’t have the energy I once had,” Huck ran out of the room shrieking about the story being too sad. “I don’t even want to see this play!” he exclaimed. When we do have some rare time together, I often have a guilt-ridden urgency to make every moment special, which almost always backfires. A friend and father of two once said that when it comes to parenting, sometimes quantity matters more than quality. When I tuck Huck in at night, often a floodgate of anxiety spills out of his mouth. The other night I was groggily trying to clock-out when he said, “I’m just feeling a lot of stress about death right now.” I sighed before telling him I was way too tired to talk about death and he should really please just stop thinking about it and go to sleep. And though this was a terrible response by any standard of parenting, he sort of snapped out of it and said, “Yeah, ok. Goodnight!”

In an ironic twist that belongs in a short story, Huck was the Grim Reaper this Halloween. Gone are the days of Huck and Troy dressing the same; Troy’s back to being a generic farmer. Long gone are the hours and hours of Troy’s homemade costumes; now we frequent the local Halloween store. But most of our traditions are intact, until that moment last night when we dropped Huck off to hang out with his friends sans his Halloween Partners since 2005.

It’ll be ok. It’s just a thing.

3 comments

Pappy T

November 1st, 2017

Yeah, but we’ll still carve Jack-o-Lanterns, right?!?

Shauntsies

November 2nd, 2017

Of course Huck is already having his first existential crisis at age 12. Heartbreak! (Selfishly, I’m so happy to know that the farmer has come back to life!) Happy fall, Schremmers!!

Aunt Jeni

November 3rd, 2017

I’m really excited you all have Sunday to be together, and I hope there is lots of snuggling. And those are some fine Jacks. XOXO

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