“So, are you saving that?”
My teenager continues looking forward out the windshield, but the corners of his mouth turn up slightly into a grinchy smile.
“I mean, are you ever going to shave that, or are you planning something special for it?” We’re stopped at a stoplight, and I’m pointing to the 1/2 inch of long, fair whiskers on his chin.
Jake is trying not to laugh, because this is a common theme, and he likes torturing me.
“Yes, Mom. I’m planning something very, very special.”
“Really? Oh, I can’t wait! Is it going to be good?”
“It’ll be spectacular.”
“You could start now, and grow it down to the floor.”
He nods, and looks as if he’s giving that thought some weight.
“Oh! I know!” I say. “You could never shave, ever again, and weave the whiskers into a basket. Kind of like a fanny pack, but for your face! You could keep stuff in there. Books and stuff when you go to college, and then, later? If you have kids, you could keep a baby in there! It would be really handy!”
Matt, my nine year old, is in the back seat and adds, “If you get a laptop, you could keep it in there!
“That’s a really good idea. I’ll think about that.” Jake is still looking straight ahead, but has a big grin on his face. He’s such a good kid, and I really don’t have much to nag him about. That makes these times so special for both of us.
Matt is excited about the new possibilities. “Jake! You could knit a sweater out of your beard, and then you’d always have it!”
“Matt, ” I say, ” That is an AWESOME idea! You could be like Mr. Rogers, Jake, and always have a little sweater handy. But attached to your face!”
“And that’s another great idea. Thank you, Matt.”
“And chicks dig big, nasty beards, Jake. Dig. Them.”
“Good to know, Mom.”
“You know, if you stopped shaving now, the teenage whiskers at the bottom of your beard would be finer and lighter than at the top. It would be a nice effect. They’d catch the breeze and blow in the wind, but just at the bottom. Like a whisker flag.”
And that one tips him over the edge, and he laughs so hard he chokes on the water he’s drinking.
My work here is done.