“I’m Just Saying” is a column by Suburbs 101 Contributor, Alexis Gold. A funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in New York City/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom.
I always talk about my girls. They are the most overscheduled people in my house. They require most of the miles on my minivan for weekend gymnastics meets and hockey tournaments. They are also the loudest. As a result, they get a disproportionate amount of everything: overpriced sweatpants and sneakers and water bottles, NYX eye highlighters; whatever the latest ask is. In an effort to even the playing field, I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to write about my favorite child.
My son is easy. He only plays local sports and mostly just wants to play football with his friends. He gets up every morning without me having to wake him up and actually takes the dog out. Sometimes, anyway. It is infinitely more than his sisters even if it is ever. He has a clever and dry sense of humor that I appreciate even as an adult. He loves to draw and will work for hours to get a portrait just so. He has introduced us to many family sitcoms and loves nothing more than actually sitting down to watch one with me.
He does this funny thing. Well, not that funny for his sisters. I find it amusing. If we are watching a show he has chosen, he reserves the right to turn it off. At any time. With no warning. This is not proper television viewing etiquette, but I appreciate his own unwritten and stood by rules. Respect.
There is no, “Hey guys, do you mind if I turn this off?” No, “I’ll be right back, I’m going to brush my teeth.” Only the laugh track from The Middle* and then black. Kind of like The Sopranos finale, except it’s just us in the family room and there are no warning shots – just me, missing the end of a sitcom.
The response is generally the same. His sisters yell, “You can’t do that!” I say, “Seriously?!” He hears none of it. The remote has already been dropped Beyoncé style. Before anyone can protest further, he has disappeared, off to some other land that does not include us, but likely includes Madden.
He’s pretty consistent. He is an equal opportunity show-turner-offer. He is agnostic with respect to the audience. Meaning, he doesn’t only subject family members to this behavior. Sister’s friends bear the same small abuse of remote holding privilege. I think even his own friends.
He likes short play dates. If someone invites him over, I often have the awkward task of picking him up an hour after school ends when he has decided he is ready to go home. I think it only feels awkward for me. He just knows what he wants and owns it.
That’s the thing about kids. They are so in the moment. I think his friends probably don’t notice the TV is now silent. I’ve never heard any of his friends say, “dude – what, you’?!” They already passing a football; never remembering they were just about to find out whodunnit. When he leaves a friend’s house earlier than planned, he just yells goodbye and the friend goes back to practicing free throws.
The other day he asked me what my favorite thing was about the morning. When I longingly said, “The days I don’t have to get up”, he said, “No, it has to be something that happens every day. For me, it’s my first sip of seltzer.” Sometimes he will ask me what my fourth favorite color is, or my least favorite food. I don’t know where he gets these things, but some days, especially the days that I do have to get up, I wish I could be a little more like him. I wish I was curious enough to ask someone what their third favorite dinner might be. Or, when someone invited me to an event, that I said I could join, but for just an hour. Except, that’s right – I already do that. (For the record, my answers are: my first sip of coffee, no idea, and cantaloupe.)
What I’m realizing is that they all come by their quirks honestly; maybe with a little bit of help from us. Or maybe a lot. This weekend a friend and I are taking our boys away for the weekend. We are going to a Celtics game, but let’s be honest, mostly the kids just want to swim in the over-chlorinated hotel pool. With three kids and too much driving, I never get to spend enough time with just him. I can’t wait. But, just to mess with him, maybe I’ll steal the hotel remote and change the channels Gus-style.
*The Middle is a highly underrated and unappreciated show every family should watch together and not Malcolm in the Middle, just The Middle. Watch fast before HBO MAX puts it into write-off purgatory. I also don’t really know if there is a laugh track, probably not. I’m too lazy to turn on the television and check.
Check Out Other Essays by Alexis
About Alexis Gold
Alexis Gold holds a BS from Cornell University. She spent more than two decades on Wall Street, where she was a top ranked analyst by Institutional Investor. While on the buy side her creative writing was used to analyze companies, primarily in the retail space. Following the recent closing of her last fund, she decided to stay at home with her three small children. Her writing has been featured in Read650 and offers a funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in NYC/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom.