The Saga of Rodriguez
When my youngest son was a baby he loved to climb. He climbed out of his crib, opened his dresser drawers to use as a ladder and climbed to the top. He climbed anything and everything. The older he got the more he climbed. One day I went outside to find that he had scaled the house and was sitting comfortably on the peak of the roof. He loved to impress his brothers and friends by hanging from a tree branch by one arm, drawing up his legs, scratching his armpit with his other arm and grunting like a monkey.
One day while shopping for Christmas presents my husband and I came across an unusual piece. A twelve inch by twelve inch clay etching of a monkey. It was one solid piece that consisted of a frame, flat background and monkey. It was painted in lovely jungle shades. It even had hooks on it to hang on a wall. We hung it over his bedroom door.
Decades later while downsizing we decided to give the monkey to my son. Well he loved it, or perhaps the memories of it so much that he hung it in his kitchen. His wife didn't mind as she was one of the ones he impressed with his branch hanging routine. My two grandchildren didn't say anything as they were too young to care about decor. Until one day...
The conversation went something like this:
Dad: Eat your dinner.
Son: I don't like it.
Dad: How do you know you haven't even tried it?
Son: I can tell just by looking at it.
Dad: Well you better eat it or you'll end up like your brother.
Son: What brother?
Dad: That brother ( my son points to the monkey on the wall.) Rodriguez wouldn't eat his supper either.
It's now a year later and they are enrolling my grandson into kindergarten. Today he comes along to see his classroom and meet his teacher. The parents stand back and let the two get to know each other. The teacher asks if he has any sisters or brothers. My grandson answers that yes he has a little sister named Sophie and a brother named Rodriguez. The adults are stunned. The teacher knows there is no brother but continues with her meeting. Meanwhile, my son and wife decide that if asked they foster a child in South America, and will do so as soon as possible. The truth would be too much. They are shocked that he remembered that conversation never mind that he believed it. What he must have thought this past year every time he saw the monkey. When they got home they tried to explain and took the monkey off the kitchen wall. My grandson said that it was okay that he only had a sister but would they please hang Rodriguez in his bedroom.
Sometimes we don't realize how what we say is interpreted or believed by young children. All this time my poor grandson thought the story of Rodriguez was real. And now as I think about this I wonder did we, by calling my son a monkey, create this chain of events or was he really such a climber to begin with. I guess we'll never know.