Our school district requires that students cover all their books with book covers. In most households, that means ripping up brown paper grocery bags to cover the books. In theory, my kids are all old enough to do this task themselves. To be honest, it is kind of surprising that they don't. All four of my kids are pretty independent. For instance, they all learned to make food for themselves and manage their own time well before getting into school. Yet, somehow, every year, they plead that I am the only person with the necessary skill to cover a book with brown paper.
This year, I decided, was going to be different. This year, I resolved to make them do the book covers themselves. Then Boy in Black appeared in the doorway of my office, interrupting my few minutes of snatched time to surf blogs.
Boy in Black: Hey, Mom ....
Noticing the books in his hand, I tried to protect myself by not looking a those big brown eyes. Once I've made eye contact with Boy in Black, I have a tendency to give into anything he wants. Legend has it that there are snakes in India who have that same effect on people.
Boy in Black: Could you cover these for me?
Me: Boy in Black, you are seventeen years old!
Boy in Black: What does age have to do with it?
Me: You are the smartest kid in the school, and you can't figure out how to cover a book?
Boy in Black: I know how to .... I just want you to do it.
Me: It would be irresponsible of me. What is going to happen when you have kids and they want you to cover their books? You won't know how.
Boy in Black: I know how to cover books. When my kids ask, I will cover their books for them.
Me: If you know how, then why should I do it?
Boy in Black: It's a family tradition. In this family, parents cover books for their kids. To show them that they love them.
Before I knew it, I had made eye contact. And next thing you know, I was busy ripping up paper bags and covering his books. Part of me is wondering if I'll be doing the same thing for my grandchildren some day.
I am hoping so.