Mormon Pod Person
My son has been replaced with a Mormon pod person.
Instead of screaming, fighting, and being difficult, he is helpful, thoughtful and kind.
Yesterday, we went shopping.
For four hours.
I hate shopping. The shirt I’m wearing right now came from a store that’s been out of business for ten years. Still fits, still looks good, why shop?
Ben, on the other hand, loves shopping. Window-shopping, internet shopping, grocery shopping- doesn’t matter as long as there is something to look at and something to buy.
Since this is his special time with me, he made the call. Zachary called it “Free Will Time” the other day before he left.
We’ll get to Nova Scotia and then… free will. Maybe we’ll turn left. Or maybe we’ll turn right. Doesn’t matter. We can do what we want, Zachary said and put his hands behind his head.
Ben looked at me yesterday morning and said, Free will, Mom…
Yes. So… what should we do today?
Shop. Let’s go to Kittery.
Kittery is a mecca of outlet stores in the southern most tip of Maine. Ben and I went to the Gap, the almost gap, the kinda gap, the mostly like the gap, the so close you can’t imagine it’s not the gap… I thought I was going to die.
Finally, we went to the Kittery Trading Post. At last… flannel.
Hey, I am a lesbian. I’m required to wear flannel.
We did pass on the gun section.
I don’t think we need any guns… do you? I asked Ben.
No, Ben laughed. Do they have shin guards?
Guns… shin guards… this is Maine. Only in Maine will you find both in a single store. And flannel for you favorite lesbian.
When we got home, after four straight hours of shopping, I collapsed on the couch. Two aspirin and a nap later, I was refreshed. Alive and ready for the world.
While I napped, Ben emptied the dishwasher. Mopped the kitchen floor. Took the tags off all the new clothes- mine included.
When I woke up, he came out and did yard work with me. We trimmed bushes, took a scythe to long grass.
He helped in a cheerful manner.
Mormon pod person, I’m telling you.
I grew up the next town over from Palmyra, New York where Mormonism was invented by Joe Smith. I have a lot of experience with the surreal cheerfulness of missionaries. For the opportunity to try and spread the word of God- or Joe Smith depending on what you believe- they’ll do just about anything. My friend who lives in a rural part of central New York gets them to paint her barn every couple years.
I don’t think Ben was trying to get me to believe anything but… it was strange coming from a kid who whines daily about having to clean up his own breakfast dishes.
My friend Margaret, the Martha Stewart of parenting, wrote to me, “Ahhh, it's the one-on-one time. No competition with his brothers. And, he's growing up.”
I want to wrap my arms around him and not let him get any older. Hold him right here.
Later, we went to a nice restaurant. He ate the anchovies on his Caesar salad.
These are … good. They taste like salt and… vinegar. I like them.
It was a nice enough restaurant I said, Uh… don’t trust any other anchovies. These are special. And I love that you tried them.
The owner/chef came out and I know him a little. Ben gleamed when he came to the table.
I liked the mac and cheese with lobster, Ben reported proudly.
That’s my favorite, Clark nodded. Good choice.
Ben sipped his cherry coke. Took the butter from the dish and placed it on his butter plate instead of right on the bread. He said please and thank you at all the appropriate times.
He ate the freaking anchovies.
Mormon pod person. A missionary has come in and replaced my difficult pre-teen.
Or… Ben has this in him.
My baby is growing up.