So, the other day when I picked Big Kid up from school and buckled him into the car, he said," I learned all about DRUGS today."
He said this in a serious tone, with a pause before and after the word "drugs", and I thought sensed some accusation or judgment in his tone, although I couldn't imagine why.
"Really? What did you learn about drugs?"
"I learned about all kinds of drugs...like ones you drink." He paused and looked at me seriously.
(Where the hell is this conversation going? my tired mind wondered) "Drugs you drink?"
"Like beer dat gramps drinks, or WINE dat you drink," he said slowly, definitely in a "caught you" kind of tone.
As I started the car, I felt a little angry. I know I joke about it a lot, but I am not a drinker. At all. I probably drink 6-8 times a year, I get drunk once every couple of years, usually at weddings, never with my kids around. I'm a 2 glasses of Pinot on a Saturday night with dinner or an Amstel Light or two on the beach every few months kind of girl.
And now my 5 year old thinks I do drugs because someone showed him a wine glass and a Budweiser can and told him that was bad. I know it had to be a picture of a can of Budweiser too, because Mr. Ashley enjoys a Heineken or two on most evenings, and here he was getting off free and clear because Big Kid recognized the can that he's seen his grandfather with.
"Gramps doesn't drink beer anymore. When he found out he was sick, he made the right choice and decided to only eat and drink healthy foods, and he hasn't had a beer since. I hardly ever drink wine, Big Kid. Those kind of drinks are alchohol, and although it would be bad to drink too much of that kind of drink, it is not against the law and adults are free to make that decision for themselves."
"My teatser said it was drugs."
"Then she was wrong, or you misunderstood her." I snapped, in an I'm-done-discussing-it kind of way.
Then we saw my dad on Memorial Day, and my dad told me that he had asked Big Kid if he knew he was sick. Big Kid replied with, "Yep, I know, and I know you laid off da beer, too." My dad was laughing about it, but I was sure to explain the back story so that he didn't think we were making a big deal out of his beer drinking (or not drinking) to our five year old.
Several days later, Big Kid pops up with, "You know, you don't have to die when you're 60. Some people die when dey are 87 or 93 or even 100."
Wondering what the hell he was talking about, and wondering if he knew more than I thought about my dad, I asked what he meant.
"If you do drugs or drinks you will die when you're 60. If you don't, you will live to be 94 or 98 or somefing."
"Uh, well, it doesn't work exactly like that. Drinking too much or doing drugs is not healthy for your body, that part is true."
Now I'm very irritated again. I'm not sure if Kindergarten is the appropriate forum for drug and alcohol abuse. Somehow the message has been passed on to my Kindergartner that if he sees me with a glass of wine, I'm doing drugs and am going to die at 60 vs 98. Also, we all know that Big Kid told (at least) his entire class that his grandpa and I drink drugs all the time.
Then, the day before yesterday, I had the boys making cards for me to take to my dad in the hospital. Big Kid wrote "Feel better Gramps" on the front and drew a parrot that he glued a googly eye and a feather too. I asked Big Kid what he would write on the inside.
"Hmmm, I'm finking...'you shouldn't have drank all dat beer." he said matter-of-factly.
I'll admit beforehand that my immediate reaction was a bad one. It was the day of the surgery, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, the alcohol lectures had annoyed me a few times already in the last week, and I was realizing that Big Kid believed that my dad had cancer because he drank beer, thanks to school.
"Listen to me, one does not have to do with the other. Gramps is not sick because he drank beer. Drinking beer was an unhealthy choice--but one that he had the right to make as an adult. Don't mention him drinking beer, or me drinking wine, or anyone drinking anything ever. Write something nice on the inside of the card, and don't bring this up again."
His eyes were wide and he mumbled that he'd just write that he loved him, and got right to it.
Then I felt bad, and after several minutes had passed and I thought of it objectively, I realized that a "Feel Better--you shouldn't have drank all that beer" card from Big Kid would be way, way funnier than your run of the mill "Feel better--I love you" card.
My dad loves to tease and Big Kid is always trying to get him back. Plus, my dad loves a story he can retell 9 zillion times and that could've been a good one. He would have thought it was funny and Big Kid's practical, safety-patrol, hand-washer extraordinaire persona cracks him up.
I told Big Kid that I was sorry I snapped at him, and asked if he wanted to make a second card as a joke and he declined immediately, saying he was pretty sure the joke wasn't funny and forbidding me to tell Gramps he mentioned the beer.
Now every time my dad tells me how the medical staff admire his cards, I think of how much funnier it would have been if I had let Big Kid do it his way.