John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Family Conversations

Great moments in family conversations.

My wife, my son (a high school senior) and I went out for dinner last night.

As is often is the case, my son and wife were having a conversation and I felt like a 6th man on the bench who may get playing time if either began to tire.

My son was excitedly—yet matter-of-factly—explaining that he was learning in school about anthropology and that polygamy was superior to monogamy as a societal partnering arrangement.

My wife, Rebecca, excitedly—yet matter-of-factly (and a little defensively)—was willing to argue for monogamy. I sat entranced though pretending to be more interested in picking through my salad.

When my son couldn’t think of the word for women having multiple husbands, I chimed in from the bench, “polyandry.”

Although neither side was tiring, I was about to get some playing time. “So, John, what do you think?” my beloved wife, Rebecca, queried with that tone that simultaneously reminded me both of the first time I heard the term “united front” and the first time I slept on the couch.

I glanced at my son who I’ve played enough basketball with to develop head signals. Although we never had a head signal for an alley-oop dunk (since neither of us can dunk), the look he gave me would have been it.

He was saying to me, “C’mon dad, I got your back. Let’s have some fun with mom.” It was a touching father-son moment but it was time for me to choose a side.

Of course, I believe in monogamy. Always have and always will. But that wasn’t the decision I was faced with.

The decision was, At what point do you make peace with the fact—even if it’s just for fun—that you will never, ever make an alley-oop dunk in life?

Yesterday was that day for me.


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