What if that’s the last thing you ever say to me?

My son was gathering up his things to go to school.  I asked him if he had done his homework.  Turns out he hadn’t!  He promised he would do it on the bus.  I scooted out an email to his teacher letting her know that if he didn’t have his homework, I would be sending him to school tomorrow with a completed assignment from me:  “I will do my homework at home.” written out fifty times.

After I read the email aloud to him, my son said, “Don’t send that to her!”

“Too late!  I already did.  Next time do your homework.”

“Grrr!  DAD YOU SUCK!”

“How would you feel if that was the last thing you ever got to say to me?”

“Bad…I know…”

I told him that even if it were to be the last thing he ever said to me, I wouldn’t want him to worry about it, because I would know how he really feels.

BUT….What if that really was the last conversation my son and I ever had?  Would the entire conversation weigh on his mind for years to come?  Would the simple act of me suggesting that this could possibly be our last conversation just hours before my untimely death  proved it to be true, be the ultimate guilt trip?

The truth is, none of us ever really know when our time will come.  People really do, say and do things to each other that cause pain to the people they love, and far too many times it really is the last chance they had to see the other person alive.

So…What do we tell our children as they get on the bus for the day after telling us that we suck, or that they hate us?  IS it wise to warn them that they may have just spoken their last words we will ever hear from them?  Or is it best to say, “Yeah, I know I suck…But YOU are a great kid, and I know you love me!”

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.