The Things He Says (Or Doesn’t Say)


Oh, Graham. Graham. Graham.

I’m on a business trip right now. Even though I’m by myself I’m sitting here cracking up over little things Graham has done lately. I offer you three vignettes. Snippets of life with my favorite preschooler lately:


When did it happen that he became able to carry on a conversation over the phone unprompted by an adult?! I’m not entirely sure, but I carried on a proper conversation with him on the phone tonight. No wandering away from the phone or awkward hang-ups. I got a greeting, a dialogue, an “I love you” quickly followed by a “bye-bye, mommy.”

Two little excerpts from our convo:

“Miss Ann told Daddy that I was having trouble with my listening ears today but really, I had a good day. So I get gum.”

And the one that really plucks my heartstrings while I sit in this hotel room on a business trip? “Mommy, you should be ready to come home now.”

Ah, buddy. If you only knew.


Last night, Graham didn’t want me to leave the room after I tucked him in. He told me that he wanted company – some company to talk to. So I suggested that he talk to God and that God would always keep him company and wrap him in a big hug while he fell asleep.

This morning, Graham woke up and called to me downstairs:

“Mommy! God hugged me last night with his swirly arms and then he slept in my bed with me too!”
“Oh yeah? That’s great, Graham,” I got this warm feeling all over that this had brought him peace and comfort. Then I asked, “Are you coming downstairs?”

“Yep! OOH wait! I have to go get God.” :::runs off into his bedroom:::

I stood at the bottom of the stairs with my mind absolutely swirling, wondering what on earth he was going to possibly come back with. Turns out it was just his hands, cupped together over one another, containing some unseen entity.

God, obviously.

He then told me to come get God, so that he (not He: The Creator, but he: the kid) wouldn’t fall down the stairs. As we carefully transitioned God into my hands, he clapped my cupped hands shut, looked me in the eyes, slowly shook his head and said, “Careful, he’s a SLIPPERY guy!”


This morning, Graham told Andy that his teacher reminded him to bring a swimsuit today for swimming. I looked at Andy with a confused look on my face. Really, it was just an “oh crap, I’ve forgotten something” face directed in Andy’s general vicinity.

His swim lessons. The school had sent a note recently asking if we wanted to sign up to have Graham be bussed with his classmates to a local swim academy to learn to swim. All on their own. No need for me to drive him to and fro, get him changed in cramped changing closet, remember to bring snacks for the starving child after a workout. YES ABSOLUTELY I DO.

Funny that we hadn’t gotten reminders about it. Nothing mentioned on email or posted in the classroom. No mention of it from any teacher. This seems suspiciously like those memories that materialize out of a daydream. I did a quick scan of emails and found the original “Do you want to sign your kid up for this?” email which did have the dates on it.

Every Monday, starting March 17th. Well, CRAP. We already missed it. The first of ten lessons that we paid for, and I’ll be damned if Monday isn’t the hardest day to remember things!!! It’s a miracle we remember to take the children when we do school drop-offs on Mondays.

I urge you to pay attention as you read these next couple of paragraphs. This will be important later.

I looked at the time: 6:45. The school was open, I called the number. The school director answered.

Now, I’m pretty sure it was my mouth moving, but I KNOW that it was my mom’s voice coming out. We talked about when the first day of swim actually was (confirmed: yesterday,) and how I was awfully disappointed that we’d missed the first lesson. I then followed by lingering uncomfortable silence as I apparently waited for the director to offer up her reaction to the situation. I didn’t do it on purpose. It was like muscle memory for a set of muscles I’ve never used before. And my intent wasn’t actually to make anyone uncomfortable, I wasn’t even upset, but I thought it appropriate to bring the school into our little morning frenetics so that we could all work together to figure out what happened and hopefully prevent it from happening again. (Obviously, I will also set a calendar reminder from now on, but I’m thinking for future parents, etc.)

Our director was so pleasant, to her absolute credit. She offered that she was surprised that no one had come to tell her that Graham didn’t have a suit. Usually on the first day of swim they call parents first thing in the morning if a suit was forgotten. This led us to wonder if they’d gotten Graham on the list at all. She promised to look into it and have an answer before we got to school.

So, let’s recap, I hit panic mode that my kid didn’t get his swim lesson, called the school, mildly shamed the director, and worked out an action plan for the future. I walked out into the hall where Graham was getting his hair combed and said, “I’m so sorry you didn’t get to swim yesterday, buddy, but…” and Graham interrupted:

“I went swimming yesterday.”

Um, wut?

“You went swimming yesterday?? But we didn’t send you with a suit.”

“I wore the school suit. That’s why I asked you to take my suit today.”

Then Andy and I did some rapid fire truth-testing. Known in some circles as interrogation.

“How did you get to swim lessons?”
“A bus.” Checks out.

“Who drove the bus?”
“Vaughn.” I have no idea who Vaughn is but it’s a name I’ve never heard before. Plausible.

“What teacher went with you?”
“Miss Tameka.” Confirmed.

“What did the pool look like?” (Okay, that was my question. I am the worst interrogator ever. And Graham didn’t even dignify it with a response.)

Andy put the comb down and leveled Graham with his stare, “HOW exactly IS IT POSSIBLE that you got on a bus with a teacher and your friends, driven by a guy named Vaughn, TO a POOL and WENT SWIMMING, and this didn’t come up AT ALL when we asked you about your day yesterday?!”

Graham shrugged.

The end.


  1. I am still trying to fill in the gaps in the boys lives that they didn’t share with us.  And there are a lot of gaps. Every once in a while they let us know ,as P Harvey said so well,  the rest of the story.

  2. You have hit the JACKPOT with school-hosted swimming lessons.  Man, I feel like Charlie has taken huge steps backward in his swimming ability since we had to leave Emler in Dallas, but there’s no equivalent close to us.  And you don’t have to drive him, dress him, undress him, and drive home?  So jealous.

    • I know, right? Andy was like, “Are you intereste…” “YEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!11!!!1!!!”

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