I love that driving in the car loosens my eleven year old's tongue. I don't know what magic properties allow her to speak more easily in a moving vehicle, but I'll take advantage of them every time.
Late last week, I was driving all the kids home from a "treat" dinner at Wendy's. A treat for them because we rarely do it, and a treat for me because Rob was away on a business trip and I didn't have to cook.
It's your classic win-win.
Anyway, Francie started chatting away and we somehow got onto the topic of marriage. She is just starting to realize that not everyone comes from a home where mom and dad are married and committed to each other for the long haul.
She's known divorced families and single parents for a long time, but I think she is only realizing now the tremendous impact that a person's family has on them. I think she has been talking about it, in an oblique way, with her friends at school.
So she turned to me and she said, "Mom? You and Dad never fight or ague about anything. You guys are never mad at each other."
I just laughed a little and said, "Well, we do disagree about things, but not often. And whatever we disagree about, we try not to yell at each other. We usually save our disagreements until you guys are in bed, because then we can work it out without being interrupted. It seems to work pretty well."
She came back with, "Well, yeah, but what I really mean is that you have never, ever given me a reason to think that you would ever get a D-I-V-O-R-C-E. You are always laughing. Thanks."
Whoa. She doesn't know it, but my little tweenager rocked my world.
We all know that parenting is a totally thankless job, and of course that's not why we do it. If we're lucky, our kids will grow up and realize we were not really the humorless ogres they thought we were.
But sometimes, we get a teensy tiny bit of affirmation to let us know that maybe we're not screwing up as badly as we thought.
Francie gave me that last week. She showed me that she might question a lot of things, but she's never questioned her parents' vow to love and cherish each other until death.
PS: And yes, she did spell out divorce just in case Fiver was eavesdropping. She didn't want him to hear the word divorce and get upset. God, I love that girl.