Once we settle into our food and conversation, we usually meander casually around everyone’s daily experiences or football, to which my wife and daughter roll their eyes and try desperately to change the subject.
Last night Carson opened the evening with this one –
“I want to open a Scotch and cigar bar in Brooklyn.”
It’s not the most surprising thing he’s ever said.
But it made me smile, because he had no fear of putting himself out there on the line for judgement and ridicule, which families are exceedingly good at doling out.
What surprised me more was the response from the rest of the table. Well, the response from everyone but the 8-year-old, who was still trying to figure out what Scotch was.
His older brother immediately launched into a diatribe against Brooklyn that still has me amazed at his knowledge of the much ballyhooed borough.
His mother shot down all the other options he spouted off.
“Boston, near Harvard,” Carson said.
“Too many underage people to really appreciate a Scotch and cigar bar,” his mother said between bites of potato and salad.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I suggested Madison, Wisconsin, which is as much a college town as Boston, but you have to factor in the absurdly wonderful, non-Northeastern behavior of the citizens of the Badger state.
I know it’s a silly conversation, but I would have been terrified to say something like that to my parents at the dinner table, which tells me that I’ve accomplished something in my life.
I’m not sure exactly what I’ve accomplished, but my kids are not me and don’t have the same fears and insecurities I still carry, which makes me smile.
I love that we’re in sync as a family, that a conversation about the notion of opening a Scotch and cigar bar by a 13-year-old boy is as legit as last year’s dreams of being a pro football player.
Or go back a few years when he still wanted to be a garbage man.
My boys still ask Gabrielle if she wants to be the first pink president, something she mentioned at the dinner table a few years ago.
I’ve watched my oldest go from talking about his dreams of becoming a race car driver to his very real pursuit of a medical degree.
I love that the dinner table is a safe space for dreaming.
Well, unless it’s my dream of building a craft brewery in a motor home, something my wife won’t permit me to talk about in public or at the dinner table.
I guess my point is that there needs to be a safe space for dreaming out loud, and what better place than the dinner table.