Overheard: “I don’t know, ask Mom.” (Parenting a Middle Schooler: The Joyful Saga, Part 1)

To be clear: I love my 8th-grade son. I’m proud of him in a thousand different ways. He’s terrific; he completes me. It’s just that . . .

I kind of want to kill him sometimes. I mean, if it were possible to do that and still have him be alive . . . later on, just not now, exactly. Sigh. It’s complicated. I just . . . arrrrggghhh!

Is that so very wrong?

Anyway, about the overheard comment. It was spoken directly to me. My son (we’ll call him Gavin because that’s his name) and I were in a car and I was trying to find out what kind of sandwich he wanted. That was the sum total of my agenda: I wanted to buy the boy a sandwich, but I didn’t know what kind of sandwich, exactly. So I asked.

And the asking of this question annoyed my son. Okay? I was irritating my 13-year-old kid by asking him what kind of sandwich he wanted.

Add this to the topical list of things he didn’t, and doesn’t, “feel like” talking about. Sandwiches.

For more atmosphere: We were in the car and I was driving to the Soccerplex at 8:35 on a Saturday morning. I could have been in my bathrobe, reading The New York Times, sipping coffee, but I was not, no. Gavin had to ref two soccer games so I was driving him across town. Twenty-five minutes, there and back. I planned to return to pick him up at 11:30, when I would then shuttle him back home, he would get dressed for baseball, and we’d rush to Line Drive Field for the baseball game — which I would help coach for two and a half more hours of “my” Saturday (“my” in quotes, oh yes).

Because the boy would be hungry and hurried, I offered — at my wife’s suggestion — to stop first at Subway before picking him up, in order to deliver to said son a sandwich of his own devising. A small treat for the young prince.

It was at this point I asked, “What kind of sandwich would you like?” — much in the way a footman on “Downton Abbey” might inquire, say, about the precise hour Master would care to depart for the afternoon quail hunt.

Yes, love this show.

Yet my question irritated Gavin. He’d already been over it with Mom. So he rolled his eyes, grumbled, groaned “I don’t know,” and suggested that it might be easier if I asked someone other than . . . the eater of the sandwich!

And you know what? I didn’t bite. I didn’t offer any of a half-dozen responses that sprang to mind. Nope. I shut up, drove the car, asked Mom, bought the sandwich, picked the boy up, limo’d him home, coached the game, etc.

Thank you for listening. Is my time up already?

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