My third borne has lately begun drinking coffee with me in the morning. I don't remember specifically giving him permission to do this, but I don't remember telling him he couldn't. (My own mother, a heavy coffee drinker herself, had a fit when she learned I was drinking it--and I was twenty years old).
So this is my twelve year old--straight red hair, which he brushes in front of the mirror upon getting up (he's been stealing my conditioner lately--I'm not supposed to know, but he smells of papayas too). He has freckles sprinkled across his nose, luminous blue eyes and is a little short for his age (after my side of the family). He strolls through through his morning chores: feeding the cats, letting the dogs out, getting his breakfast, all the while balancing a mug of coffee. I've been watching this for a couple of weeks now, taking in his utter matter-of-factness and I've come to the conclusion that it isn't an act. This is just who he is evolving into. Joseph being Joseph unfettered.
He's more like a middle aged man in a kid's body, though a good deal more curious about the workings of the universe and humans. By the time he was six, he'd picked out the future Mrs. Joseph (he hasn't told her yet), at ten he'd named his 2.5 children, by eleven, he'd decided he was going to be a Computer Game Developer and a teacher. That last one wouldn't surprise me at all. He genuinely likes small children and often offers to tag along when I teach preschoolers.
Yesterday morning, for the first time, he picked up the Rattler (a local rag full of community bits and pieces, gossip, recipes, sheriff's reports, want ads, church columns, etc) and sat down to read it while he was eating his breakfast and drinking his coffee.
After perusing the first couple of pages, he lowered it and said, "Mom, have you read the article about the big 911 board meeting that everybody was supposed to go to?"
Yes, I replied. Why?
He chewed his toast thoughtfully for a second. "Well, they're all supposed to super alert and everything right? You know--like 'Don't panic Ma'am! We're on our way! We'll be there in a few minutes! I won't hang up until I hear the sirens!'"
"Well--who answers the phone?"
"You know--while all the 911 people are at the meeting--are you going to get a recording that tells you to call back another time? Or does it just take a message, or what?"
Only Joseph goes places like that in his head and it is almost no fun at all to explain reality to him. I prefer the way he thinks about life.
Sometimes I wish for a time machine that would propel me into his future just so I can confirm my suspicion that he's going to be a remarkable adult.