Wednesday afternoons and evenings have turned plumb crazy-making for my boy. The girls and I get him off the big, yellow bus and head east for one of his five, weekly karate classes. We get home; I try to pull dinner together; and Cade and I head out, again, this time for choir practice at church. After choir practice, he retreats to his room to practice his clarinet because--having taken two karate classes on Monday and participated in Boy Scouts on Tuesday--Wednesday affords his first real opportunity of the school week.
I try to take advantage, every Wednesday, of Cade's and my time in the minivan, but I couldn't get much out of him, this afternoon. He'd whipped out his Kindle as soon as he'd settled in the passenger seat, and I couldn't seem to engage him in conversation. I could tell: he was ignoring as many of my words as possible. He answered my questions with yesses and noes, looking mildly annoyed.
Finally, I could take it no more. "Why won't you talk to me, Cade?" I whined. "Don't you love me anymore? Have I become just a chauffeur to you? What are you reading, anyway?"
"The Grapes of Wrath," he said.
And that's when I stopped talking. Because I decided, instantly: I'm willing to share my sixth-grader with Steinbeck.