It was after 10pm and my husband and I had just gotten the three boys into bed. Summer it seemed had its own schedule which was basically no schedule.
I went into my 9 year-old son’s room to say goodnight but instead of a sleepy hug, he greeted me with a firm directive.
“I’m not going to camp tomorrow.”
It was not unusual for any of my three boys to randomly request a day off but usually it was more of a plea than a demand. I sighed. I wasn’t in the mood for negotiations. I really wanted to be downstairs watching Breaking Bad. My husband and I were in the final 3 episodes.
“Really?” I questioned. I was pretty adept at sidestepping this appeal and sending them on their merry way. They had a limited camp schedule to begin with, and I had no intention of losing a day to myself for no good reason. “Why?”
“It’s the fishing trip. I don’t want to go.”
“Why?” I asked again, searching for more.
“It’s boring.” He answered, but his tone was already exasperated.
“But you’ve never gone on a fishing trip. A lot of your friends love it. You might too.” I thought it was a reasonable argument, but I should know better than to reason with my middle son, especially after a long day.
“I don’t care what anyone else likes!” He yelled, sounding on the verge of tears. Then he flipped over in his bed to face the wall and ordered me out. I had lost him.
But instead of leaving him be as I should, I pressed on, hoping to draw him out.
“Is there a reason you don’t want to go fishing?”
“I just don’t want to!”
Feeling like there must be more to his adamant refusal, I continued casting questions aimlessly about to my exhausted, stubborn child, who I couldn’t even convince earlier on to try a cupcake I baked.
“Are you afraid of the water? Do you not want to touch fish? Or bait? Did something happen at camp today that upset you?”
“I don’t want to go!” He cried.
I stood there in the silent aftermath, staring at his back, considering my next move.
“Just go!” He finally yelled.
Annoyed at his tone but more at his unwillingness to share, I left frustrated.
This was my son who wanted to sing, played recorder, piano and was considering drums. He played soccer, tae kwon do, football, baseball, tennis, gaga and of course baseball. This morning he announced that he was also a runner and wanted to do our town’s annual 5 mile Thanksgiving run with me this year.
I just didn’t understand. He was always up for anything.
I wanted to delve deeper and get to the bottom of things, but I apparently I couldn’t hook him.
Today just wasn’t my day. Maybe tomorrow.
I could wait.