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Sometimes my son comes into my office and sits down. He sits on the spare chair at my desk and looks at me. I stop what I am doing and look back. This is it. All of parenting comes down to these moments when the creature you’ve given birth to and raised is before you, open, ready to engage about some matter great (meaning of existence) or small (what’s for dinner). Sometimes, we will have a political discussion. But mostly, as I look at him, I am conscious of my desire to look back at my computer . . .

He has come in while I am working, but I have a rule that he can always come in. And yet, I spend much of our interaction aware that I am trying not to look at my screen. I do not really hear what he says. I just know he is there and that I am not really with him. Once I sense I have missed him, I see in his eyes that he senses the betrayal. He is too kind to say anything, but he knows he’s been passed over.


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