Not long ago, Richie and I were in a waiting room together for an hour and a half. He was (semi-)watching the movie Brave on his tablet, and I was reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Or I was trying to. Because when Richie has a long stretch of quiet to think, the thoughts that come into his head are varied and humorous and telling. And luckily for me, he seldom sensors them before sharing.
First we talked about middle school – his favorite topic by far – which he will be starting next month. We talked about our upcoming vacation to Yellowstone National Park, and he worried aloud about whether the supervolcano underlying the park would erupt during our visit. I reassured him (for the umpteenth time) that the park is closely monitored for seismic activity and the volcano would not be able to mount a sneak attack on us.
Then he asked me, “Mom, sometimes do adult men take their Beyoncé out to dinner?”
Not sure I’d heard him correctly, I stifled my grin as best I could and calmly asked, “What did you say?”
He answered earnestly: “Some adult men, do they take their Beyoncé out to a nice dinner?”
I clenched my teeth to keep from smiling. Several thoughts came at me at once: What did I ever do to deserve this child? (Nothing.) How can so much wonderfulness be packed into one smallish body? (No idea.) I have to write this down! (And soon.)
I couldn’t resist. I asked him to repeat it one more time.
“Do adult men take their Beyoncé out to dinner sometimes?”
I paused, smiled, and just soaked that last one in. Then it was time for me to come clean. “Sweetheart, the word is fiancé, not Beyoncé.”
“Oh, okay. And what does that word mean?”
It took all my willpower not to reply, “Anything you want it to, my dear.”