I open the email, and immediately yell down the hall to my son.
He yells back.
The conversation continues at top volume.
Me: Did you know about this pizza lunch on Friday?
Me: Are you going? It sounds like a really nice idea. You should go!
Him: I'm going to ask my friends and see if anyone else is going.
Me: What kind of answer is that? Either you're going or you're not going.
Him: Right. Either I'm going or I'm not going. That's the answer.
The day before the pizza lunch, I risk another inquiry.
Me: So, do you need lunch money tomorrow, or are you having free pizza?
Him: I'm having pizza.
Me: Great! Good for you!
Him: Mom, give it a rest, OK?
The pizza lunch is sponsored by his school's mentoring group for African American boys in the junior high and high school. This will be a kick-off get together for the kids to meet the staff and each other, and make plans for upcoming events.
My son walks in with his friends and one of the other kids says, "Dude, you're black?"
But wait. There's more. Their first outing?
A father-son trip to a UCLA football game.
The morning of the game, my husband comes into our room fuming.
Him: I don't know what's wrong with that kid. Now he says he doesn't want to go.
Me: I'll go talk to him.
I walk down the hall and find my son under a blanket on the couch.
Me: Honey, what's wrong? Dad says you don't want to go to the game.
Him: I'm tired.
Me: Is it because Daddy's white and you think it'll be weird for you?
He doesn't answer, but then looks up at me.
Him: Mom, can you come?
Me: No, I can't. It is a father-son outing. That means fathers, as in Daddy, and sons, as in you. Besides, if you think it'll be weird for you, think about Daddy!
He grins. Clearly this had not occurred to him.
Me: And you don't see him hiding under a blanket. He's in the shower right now getting ready. So move it!
He does. They go. Nobody says, "Dude, your son is black?" to my husband**, and everyone has a great afternoon.
I did offer to drive on the next outing though, just to be on the safe side.
* Or so I heard from another parent, because my son would rather die than tell me anything directly.
** In fact, he bonds completely with the other dads over their mutual dislike at having to eat McDonald's for breakfast.