Last night, as we do every year, we took the boys out separately to shop for Christmas presents. Brian went with Rob this time and Alan with me. Every time we separate them it means, without fail, whoever is with Alan will be eating at the Training Table while the other will be eating at Noodles and Company. No offence to Brian’s tastes, but I much prefer the cheese fries, and a #24.
Anyway, while driving to dinner, I had a podcast on of a npr story on about poverty in South Africa. Alan was listening with interest and, once we sat down he began asking all sorts of questions. Do they have a bathroom? A bedroom? Why don’t they have food? And so on. As our experience with volunteerism has shown in the past, they are both already, to my great joy, quick to feel concern for others.
The program had talked about the government’s inefficacy in dealing with some of the problems and finally Alan asked, “Do they have a president?” I guess he was wondering why no one was helping them.
I explained a simple version of South African History and politics, to the extent that I understood it. I talked about how lucky we are to live where we do and so on (though, ironically, South Africa does recognize gay unions).
He then asked if George Washington was our president. I smiled and told him no and then paused to think how to introduce George W. Bush without giving him credit for keeping our family from such poverty, when the man has done a good deal to keep us as second class citizens. To be honest, we haven’t really talked as much as we probably should about politics with them for the complex issues it brings up for our family.
In the pause, though, Alan asked, “Is Daddy the president?”
I’m sure my chuckle was too loud. I told him “No, he’s too busy being your Daddy.” but I wanted to say “Yes, of our home, daddy is president. But I’m the legislative and judicial branch ;-).” Rob was touched Alan thought he's responsible for our running water, and plentiful chests of toys, not to mention food, such as cheese fries, but I couldn’t give him all that credit.
For Mr. President, Alan ended up buying a CD of Brahms piano concertos. He had to listen to many tracks at Barns and Nobel before picking the right CD; it was cute. For his brother, he got a puzzle and a spirograph (two things I loved as a kid, but I swear I did not exhort undue influence). No worries, neither Rob or Brian read the blogs :-).
From me Mr. President will be getting, of all things, a vacuum. I know, how 1950’s male chauvinist of me, in some weird alternative gay 1950’s universe. It’s what he asked for though, I swear, and it’s a really cool robot vacuum. Besides, all that was on my list was a car recharger for my ipod.