My eight-year-old brought a new friend home the other day. He seemed like a nice kid. Polite, respectful, no tattoos. However, the reality remains that I work from home, and right now, I'm a bit more on edge than usual, pushing to complete some major revisions for The Silver Compass.
That said, when my son and his friend came downstairs, I swiveled in my desk chair to explain that they had to be quiet. However, this time my son put up a hand and said he would handle it. Here's the conversation that followed:
"Look, my mom's working and she's under pressure and stress and strain so we gotta be quiet if we're playing downstairs."
"What's she working on?" the new kid whispered.
"She's writing a book."
Long drawn out "W-o-w!"
A few seconds passed.
Then my son lowered his voice and said, "She's actually a retired superhero. She used to walk into big crowds and read minds and tell the police who they should arrest. She would concentrate real hard and then she would point to some plain looking guy and say, 'If you check his pockets you'll find the missing diamonds.'"
The new kid leaned past my son and stared at me. "Does she still read minds?" he whispered.
Slow sad shake of my son's head. "All the time."
Long pause, followed by a whispered, "Let's play outside, okay?"
On their way past my desk, my eight-year-old winked at me
and his friend shot me a skeptical look. It made my day. First, that my son remembered that crazy I'm-a-retired-superhero-who-used-to-read-minds-for-the-FBI story I had told him three or four years ago, and secondly that he had reiterated it to this kid to help clear the house out and give me some much needed peace and quiet.