It doesn't matter how old they get: slug, preserved rattlesnake head in a jar, cream of tartar, an unsettling amount of human hair, something you hope to God isn't a very squished mouse, wtf!!!!!, it's your kid giving you something and it's automatic, you don't even think about it: "Oh, cool."
I turned it over and admired the pink paper and tried to work out what this bottle was. Shape and size meant drink, greater than two, so I decided to give us a starting point. "So wine?"
He beams at me. "Yes."
This may sound counter-intuitive, but that kind of scared me. You don't live with Child his entire life, shape his mind and go to war over DVDs and crush on the same characters (secretly), negotiate our separate fannish presences and split social media up between us like ancient potentates and have literal hard rules like "Don't bury shit in the backyard before telling me what it is" and "No, you cannot clone me when you grow up, stop collecting my hair and cackling" before age twelve and most recently, "This is my last warning, I will write min ten thousand words of your NOTP, it will be bdsm porn, and I'll blackmail every friend I have to help. I've seen two episodes, I can extrapolate, now GIVE ME THE REMOTE I WANT TO WATCH BRITISH BAKEOFF." and not be aware the simplest explanation is always the most worrying and sometimes, may require poison control, a competent medium, or a local friend who would notice my sudden disappearance on speed dial (Hi lillian13!)
I looked over the pink-papered bottle a little frantically; yep, that was the right shape and size, fuck my life. And he won't. Stop. Smiling. "So--just curious, why did you get me wine?"
"I got us wine, Mommy."
For context: using "Mommy" is the verbal equivalent of a literal summoning spell or a nuclear detonation and by design is guaranteed to elicit my undivided attention. It is only used in two situations: life or death pain and fear ("I think i summoned a demon, mommy." or "I SLAMMED MY ENTIRE HAND IN THE DOOR AND IT IS SWELLING MOMMY." or "I have a fever mommy, my temperature is 98.8.") or to really fuck with my head.
Parenthood is ride or die by design; here we go. "For what?"
"Tradition," he answers so promptly and with so much certainty that for a second, I believed him and wondered how I'd forgotten about the traditional bottle of wine three days before Christmas we did every year, weird, am I right. Then I remembered: uh, we don't. It's so annoying when the manipulation skills you so carefully taught your kid are used against you, but then again, he still carries a grudge for me convincing him for nearly ten years that he always liked spinach (when he was older, I'd sometimes say "spinach from Eurasia" and then he read 1984; yeah, that was cool) and he seriously needs to get over it.
"We don't have a traditional bottle of wine for Christmas," I said, settling back to wait, because it occurred to me he'd been squirrely about his tinder and that shit may need alcohol first.
In general, I don't know and don't want to because dear God no, but as I told him, if he was kidnapped and mutilated by a serial killer or worse, had a really bad date with a guy from south Austin who owns a basement and a lot of anime, would he like the police to start the search with "I have no idea where he was going to go when he left at 6" or "His two o'clock AM check in was that bar on Fifth Street", his choice. So generally, I get a text when he has a dramatic location or group change, because it's not like we didn't both watch all the seasons of Criminal Minds.
The tinder thing however, is specific: if you didn't see my twitter about this a bit back, short version: tinder date at the drag show, he went to talk to the performers after, forgot his date--literally forgot that poor guy at their table--to go party with the drag queens and had a great time. His check in to me was "Kidnapped by drag queens" me "K", then I remembered his date and asked about it and as it turns out, he was surprised to realize he'd had one of those earlier and wasn't entirely sure where he'd been lost.
(Spoiler: There was no second date.)
"We do now," Child tells me, taking the bottle back. "We'll drink it on Christmas night."
At this moment, Child is hanging out with some friends from high school who don't celebrate Christmas so is getting fed an indecent amount of kosher-compliant/halal-compliant/vegan-c
It's just a bottle of wine. It means nothing. He just thought it would be funny.
I'm so proud of him.
Happy Insert Winter Holiday of Your Choice!
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