Stuck in the Middle

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We drove 45 minutes to the ice rink this morning so the 10-year-old could get some much-needed ice time to help slow the loss of muscle tone while he’s in between hockey seasons.

Reaallly annoying to have put in 45 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to get back home, considering his total on-ice time was MAYBE 15 minutes

It doesn’t normally take quite so long to get to the rink from our house - it’s usually just about 25 minutes, but today’s one of those days when we hit everything juuuust the wrong way, starting with catching the tail end of rush hour traffic.

On the way there, the boy was in the backseat telling me some long-ass story about Fortnite - every last solitary detail, none of which I can remember because I slipped into a coma somewhere between “pickaxe serves as your first melee item” and “I’ve gotten really fast at building structures and sniper nests.”

I then heard - in rapid fire, every last detail about the latest trends in video streaming (my favorite!), all the reasons why I should set him up a PayPal account, and why he hates how his skin gets tan in the summertime.

It felt like a bad speed date.

I also learned where the best place to be is, in case of a zombie apocalypse (on the ice, in case you’re wondering. Because the zombies would slip and fall. I’m assuming that, if you’re caught in this scenario, you’d need to be not only wearing ice skates, but also be somewhat skilled at ice skating, lest you join the zombies in the slipping and falling. But I didn’t mention this. I didn’t stand a chance at getting a word in.)

All I want to do when I’m driving is listen to music, and not being able to do that this morning has me feeling extra stabby.

I tried giving myself an attitude adjustment by thinking things like, “Think how lucky you are to hear about this game that is so important to this child.”

But then he started describing his characters so vividly, I'd recognize them on the streets, and I wanted to light myself on fire.

I couldn't wait to get home so I could shuffle him upstairs to play his beloved game with his older brother, if I could be so lucky.

Now that our older son is back home, you’d think we’d see him all the time and chat with him all the time, but no. When he isn’t working, he is off hanging out with friends, or he’s back in his room online with his friends.

He’s most assuredly NOT hanging out with us.

I try catching him every chance I get - to nag him, honestly, about his plans for the future and how he needs to get off his ass and register for classes or follow up on a new job lead or see a military recruiter or what-have-you.

But he’s rarely available (maybe because I nag him every chance I get? 🤔). I feel like I see him about as much now as I did when he lived two hours away.

I caught myself thinking about this in the car this morning when the 10-year-old's voice was chirp chirp chirping behind me and I realized I’m in this purgatory between one kid talking too much and the other not talking at all, and I find myself wishing for change on both sides.

So I force myself to engage in this god-awful discussion about Fortnight - something I couldn’t give one shit about, even if I tried real hard.

Because I know there will be a day not too far in the future when he’ll stop talking to us, and I'm going to curse the day I wished for it to stop.