Conversation with Stephen (10 years old) during the American Idol finale tonight:

Stephen:  "He sure is enunciating well,"  in reference to Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong during their performance of "Working Class Hero".

Me:  (laughing) "I sure didn't expect that to come out of your mouth."

Stephen:  "I'm smarter than I look." 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Earlier this evening, he also accompanied me on bicycle while I walked our neighborhood.  It's a somewhat "typical" older suburban neighborhood, about 120 homes, pool, tennis court, and largish lots (at least compared to today's offerings). 

During my 45-minute power walk/his 45-minute joyride, several cars passed us.  My jaw dropped on this one:

Stephen:  "Know what scares me when cars drive by?"

Me:  (thinking he was going to say they'd accidentally veer into us…)  "What?"

Stephen:  "…that they have guns in there and they're going to shoot us."

He was serious. 

My mother-comforting response went something like "Oh, baby, you don't need to worry about that…that's the last thing that would happen."

Tell that to the kids at Columbine or Virginia Tech :/…. 

There is no telling what's going on in the minds of children these days…how their psyche has been indirectly assaulted from the insanity of a random massacre.  Perhaps this was a telling glimpse.

As he flew down the hill having already forgotten words that branded my heart, I silently prayed those desperate prayers that all mothers pray from cradle to grave…and wondered how in the world I'm supposed to hold my children loosely.

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