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Conversation Peace

September 29, 2014

by Raphael James

“Stop whining!”

“Clean up your room.”

“Stop screaming! Look for it, yourself!”

I realized this weekend that for too long, these one way conversations have been the only communication that I’ve had with my son, Grant.

When he was younger we wondered if he would ever speak at all. I prayed for the day when I could have a back and forth dialogue with my only son.  Today, Grant has mastered the use of multiple words and phrases. When he feels like it he can “use his words” to speak with us. He can speak and carry on conversations at will.

The challenge these days is in the way he acts, not the way he speaks.  I know that he can be successful if he learns to control his frustrations and outbursts. So that’s what “dad the disciplinarian” has been focused on. That’s also the reason most of our conversations have been one-sided commands from me. I’m not proud of it.

10356317_978965835462216_8924776340385764205_nAs fate would have it, all of the girls in the family had appointments this past weekend. That meant Grant and Daddy would have the rare occasion of  spending most of the day alone, together. No problem. I had a few community events to attend, then we would go to the park together and ride bikes, just the two of us.

In the car, I looked over at him and he was  content. So I asked him, “Grant what are you going to do when you get older?”

Without hesitating he said, “When I turn 18 I’m going to get a Toyota Tacoma and move to Hilton Head! I’m going to have a wife!”

Whoa!!! Say what, kid?!  I had never heard him talk about getting married before, so I asked him to tell me more about this wife.  “What will your wife look like Grant?”

He thought for a moment and then answered, “She’ll have long hair and brown skin. She’ll look like Mommy!”

I reached over and we exchanged a fist-bump. “That’s great son, there aren’t many women out there as beautiful as your mother!”Sarena and Grant on step

He said, “We’re going to have two kids…Elsa and Sebastien. A boy and a girl.”

I had no idea that he had these kinds of thoughts in that head of his. I was loving this dialogue. “That’s great son. Can Daddy come to Hilton Head?”

“Uh-uh, no sir. You have to stay here!”

I laughed out loud! “You mean I can’t come and visit you when you turn 18?”

“No. You have to stay here with Mommy” he responded.

“OK son, but if I can’t come see you I’ll be sad. Would it be okay if I come and visit and then go back home, like when we all go to see Mimi and Papa?” I pleaded.

Under those conditions he consented that we would be allowed a brief visit so we wouldn’t be sad, but he insisted we had to go back home.

That conversation with him, made me think back to when I was his age. My biggest goal was to have a Trans Am and live in California when I was 17!

The rest of our day went extremely well. He was a perfect gentleman at the public events that I attended. At one event he sat quietly and politely at a table while I got video and did some interviews. We made it to the park and had a wonderful time riding our bikes. The funny thing about it, is that while we were at the park I didn’t have to bark commands. I didn’t have to tell him how and where to play. We took turns leading as we maneuvered the paths and trails. We laughed and talked like we were both 8-years old.

I can’t wait for the opportunity to do it all again.

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