Pass the Salt

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Gabe and Olivia went to a sleepover last night. That freed up the remaining three of us for dinner. I had planned meatloaf, but was out of bread crumbs. I digress.

In need of a Plan B, we grabbed the Wing Wah gift certificate Jake won at school for having improved standardized testing scores this spring. Apparently, you get one raffle entry for each point of improvement since fall.

While there, Beth and I began some pre-teaching for a vlog I’m planning regarding the kids’ current favorites. I want to show to them how fleeting their obsessions are.

We were asking Jake about some of his favorite things: music, TV shows, teachers; that sort of thing.

After the meal came, Beth asked Jake to pass the salt. He looked at her blankly for a minute. This look in itself isn’t rare. She asked again after he’d had a minute to process. He tentatively reached out and put a hand on the duck sauce with a question in his eyes. “No, the salt.” Beth repeated. Again the tentative hand, this time to the sugar caddy. “Jake, do you know what salt is?” she questioned. Again the hand, this time to the pepper.

Beth reached over, grabbing the salt and holding it up for Jake. It was so weird. We had just been talking about what jobs he wants to do when he grows up a few minutes previously. He told us he wants to “make YouTubes and drive the school bus.” We’ll see if his tune changes when I get him on camera, a prospect he’s none too thrilled about, BTW.

Just when we were enjoying his progress and getting excited about the thought of him actually getting some sort of employment, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, we find this gap in his education.

How many family dinners has he sat through where someone asked for the salt and pepper? Hundreds? How was he NOT paying attention? How didn’t we know he didn’t know?

And the bigger question. What ELSE doesn’t he know that we take for granted?

It’s a weird thought as he enters high school in three short months.

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