Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

What do “the parents” know anyway? February 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:34 AM

MY TEENAGE SON, while generally uncommunicative with “the parents,” can be incredibly funny if he chooses to engage in conversation.

Take the other night. Not liking the chili I prepared for supper, my 16-year-old opts to make a bratwurst. I should clarify that, in this house, if you don’t like what mom or dad cooks, then you MYO (make your own).

So there my son stands, before the microwave, pondering exactly how long to zap a brat just pulled from the freezer.

“Oh, brat guru,” Caleb says, turning toward his dad. “Impart on me the wisdom of the ages.”

And so the guru, A.K.A. my brat-loving husband, guides his son through the process of microwaving a brat while I chortle over my bowl of chili.

It is a rare moment when our teen respects such wisdom. Mostly, he considers us completely lacking in knowledge.

But we persevere.

That leads to my second story. Last week I asked and then cajoled/ordered/pleaded/ begged/demanded that my son write “thank you” notes for monetary birthday gifts he recently received.

He’s not ungrateful, but getting my boy to write anything presents a nearly insurmountable challenge. He claims to detest writing and English, mostly because I love writing and English.

“I’ll do it later,” he whines. “Not now. Why do I have to? Can’t I just send an e-mail?”

“Now,” I say, pulling out the thank you cards, address book and stamps.

He tries one more time. “It’s (letter writing) a dying art, like Latin.”

Well, he’s right there, I think, trying hard not to laugh.

But his tactic fails. I refuse to accept his argument, instead imparting the wisdom of the ages that, even in this day of instant communication, people still appreciate a handwritten expression of gratitude.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling