I waited a few moments for Giago to saunter his way from his bedroom into the bathroom – which of course he did with an attitude.
“Yes, dad,” he responded with a condescension – intentional or otherwise – that I didn’t appreciate, but would address later.
“How is it that you can hit a baseball with 86% accuracy, but your penis-to-toilet percentage is about half that?” I asked, pointing at the evidence lingering around the toilet bowl.
Giago shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“Well, while you figure that out – and I will need you to figure that – can you also help come to some sort of understanding as to why you can’t mitigate that low penis-to-toilet percentage by cleaning up after yourself?”
Giago groaned and rolled his eyes. “Fine.”
I raised an eyebrow and stepped up to him so that he and I were standing face to face. “I’m going to need you to fix your attitude – and fix it NOW because you brought this on yourself. Common sense should tell you that when you make a mess – whatever that mess may be – you clean it up. And since you’re sixteen years old, you’re about ten years passed the point of getting away with it because you’re young and don’t know any better. Now clean this up.”
As I started walking out, Giago grabbed a few paper towels from a holder situated on the back of the toilet. “No ‘please’ or ‘thank you’?” he whispered under his breath – or so he thought.
I was immediately stopped in my tracks. I slowly turned around and narrowed my eyes to slits. Giago took notice and sighed again knowing what was coming.
“You’ve got a lot of mouth today, you little pissant,” I said to him. “And I would watch it if I were you because you’re veering on some very dangerous territory.”
“I think you just like yelling at me,” Giago stated.
“Excuse me?” I responded. “Do you want to repeat that?”
Giago stared at me for a moment – unsure as to what to say next. It was as if he wanted to take this further but the way the look on my face seemed to register in his brain made him think wiser of it.
“I do not,” he replied.
“Good. But to answer your question – no, I do not enjoy yelling at you. Do you enjoy doing and saying stupid shit? Because the way you act could lead someone to believe that you actually like getting yelled at – or are otherwise completely unaffected by it. Or maybe you think it’s funny. Do you think it’s funny to see me flying off the handle? Is it amusing to you? Do you want to record it to show to your friends or even better yet, upload it to YouTube for the entire world to see? Maybe you’d like to set up a Twitter feed called ‘Shit My Dad Yells’ or an Instagram account with photos of some of my best contorted faces.”
“Now you’re just being ridiculous.”
“You want to see ridiculous?” I responded, crossing my arms. “You can just go ahead and clean this entire bathroom – bathtub, bathtub walls, mirror, floor, sink and toilet. We also have a second bathroom if you want to keep this going.”
“Then maybe you just hate me.”
I wasn’t sure whether to be mad at him for voicing such a thought or sad for him that he had it in the first place. But my voice softened.
“Of course I don’t hate you. I could never hate you,” I told him. “Now I want this bathroom cleaned before dinner.”
I chose to let that one slide as I walked away from him, stormed into mine and Bradley’s bedroom and slammed the door shut. It wasn’t that I was actually mad – I just suddenly became emotional about what he said and didn’t want to start crying in front of him.
I don’t even know why I started crying. My best guess is that it made me think about the children out there who are truly unloved – abandoned, abused and neglected by their parents, guardians and/or other caretakers. Giago is hardly one of them – at least not since we acquired him. But maybe before then he was. Bradley and I didn’t want to know too much about his home life before we got him. We just wanted to love him, raise him and hope to God he could forget whatever situation he was brought out of.
I never could understand bringing a child into this world and then abusing them. Why do people keep a child they actually hate and/or clearly don’t want? Getting rid of them is awful, but it has to better than the alternative. After all, there are plenty of individuals and couples who would be more than happy to welcome such a child (or children) into their homes with warm, open and welcoming arms.
My other best guess – and this one is probably more on point – is that I do yell at Giago a lot. But I’m not sure how much I chase that down with an “I Love You”. And I do love him. I can’t imagine he doesn’t know that or in any way doubts that. But if he does, then I definitely need to tell him that more. I know that showing love is great, but speaking it in conjunction is also important. And I don’t always remember that because he favors Bradley so much that I assume it wouldn’t matter to him if I did say it more since he associates me with the yelling and probably always will.
So maybe I should just stop yelling at him altogether.
He cleaned the bathroom, didn’t he?
A couple hours later, I was awaken by light shaking and a kiss on the forehead.
“Dinner’s ready,” Bradley said.
“Dinner? Damn. I forgot to make dinner.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Bradley said as he sat down on the bed. “Giago took care of it.”
“Giago? Wow. He hasn’t done that in a while.”
“You two must have had another argument.”
“Yeah. He’s been such a smart ass of late. And I won’t put up with that. But then he suggested that I hate him. I don’t know if he was joking or not, but it completely threw me for a loop. I ran in here, burst into tears and apparently fell asleep.”
“Jake told me he could hear the muffled sound of you crying into a pillow. He heard the exchange between you two and told Giago that he was being a brat.”
I sat up on the bed. “That’s why Jake is my favorite son that’s not technically ours.”
“But maybe we should cut Giago some slack.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Do you know what happens when you cut a 16-year-old some slack? You wind up bailing that 16-year-old out of jail. Or raising that 16-year-old’s baby. Or worse yet – visiting the grave of that 16-year-old.”
Bradley sighed. “Or maybe you have more open communication with that 16-year-old so that he doesn’t wind up in jail. Or with a baby. Or worse yet…”
“We’ll see how you feel about that when he starts smarting off to you,” I said as I slid off the bed and out of the bedroom.
Bradley and I headed downstairs to the kitchen where we found Giago finishing dinner and Jake setting the table for it. I tussled Jake’s hair as I passed by him. I walked over to the stove and stood next to Giago.
“I want you to know that I love you. I have always loved you and I always will. You’re my son. That’s all that matters. Your father and I chose you. We chose you. So hate is not an option. And because I love you, I’m going to always be on your ass to act right,” I said softly hoping Bradley and Jake couldn’t hear.
Giago looked over his shoulders at Bradley and Jake seated at the kitchen table watching us.
Giago turned his head back around. “I know, dad.”
“Are you sure?”
Giago smiled. “Yes, dad.”
“Are you positive?”
“Would you tell me otherwise?”
“Good. But I never again want to hear that you have any doubt about what I just said.”
“I won’t, dad.”
I took a look at the dinner he was putting the finishing touches on. “Grilled chicken parmesan over linguine?”
“You must really be sorry.”
Giago chuckled. “I was just hungry, dad.”
“Then there’d better be a cupcake somewhere.”
“There is not…but I am sorry for the argument we had earlier,” Giago said as he carried a platter of baked shredded chicken with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese over to the table.
“I know. I am too,” I said as I picked up a bowl of linguine and followed him over to the table. “Especially about those cupcakes that might have been.”