My older son, Joey, is 19, a soon-to-be sophomore studying food science at the University of Missouri, and about to lose his girlfriend to a 4-year-old boy from Africa.
Divinity is a great young woman. She and Joey have been together since October 2019. And D thinks she’s his.
It started out innocently enough. Div is extremely friendly and, like most people, fell in love with D right from the start. Just not that kind of love.
D, for his part, seemed to me to be a little more interested in getting Div’s attention than anyone else’s.
And then one day he grabbed her butt.
Oh, it was an accident. That’s what he said and we said, anyway.
A few days later, we told him he was getting a bath that night. In his new-English, he requested Div’s attendance for the event. Oh, and she wouldn’t be on the outside of the tub.
Joey, being the awesome big brother that he is, started to joke around with D about trying to steal his girlfriend. D laughed that evil little joking laugh of his — and then promptly stepped up his game.
He’d climb up on the couch next to Div and rest his head on her shoulder … or in her lap. Joey would pick him up and powerbomb him onto the other couch and try to sit next to his girlfriend. D would scramble right back over and wedge himself between them.
One day, we were going over to my mother-in-law’s house and needed to take two cars. At first, Div was going to ride with my wife. “I go Danti!” D said. (He calls Carla “Danti,” which might be something profane, for all we know.)
Then plans changed and Div was going to ride with me. “Da-Da’s car! Oi! Oi!”
D is now carefully selecting the people with whom he wants to fly back home when he returns. I think he knows no one can actually go with him, so what this ever-changing list amounts to is who might be in favor with the little guy at any given moment.
Two things never change about the list, though:
- Div’s presence on it.
- Joey’s absence from it.
I half-imagine that one day I’ll be cleaning up the stuff from around where D sleeps and find surreptitiously taken photos of Div in compromising positions.
All jokes aside, this little back-and-forth between D and Joey is so endearing. It shows me that Joey will be a good dad someday. Of course, occasionally being in charge of D while Carla and I go on a date has served to significantly delay that eventuality, were I a betting man.
And for Div’s part, she’s such a good sport.
On the way home from that evening on my mother-in-law’s, she sat in the back seat with D. As soon as she sat down, he immediately reached for her hand. Whatever his true thoughts are, he takes comfort in being near her.
“I think you’re really great,” she told him. “And I’m really happy to be your friend. Your friend.”
D seemed to understand this. He went into full pout mode. Being friendzoned for the first time is hard.
Then he kicked the back of the front passenger seat to get Joey’s attention. My son turned around. D pointed to his hand in Div’s and laughed.
The game continues…
More From ‘The Host Kid Chronicles’
D loves airplanes. “Avion! Avion!” he screams whenever he sees, hears or thinks he sees or hears one. His favorite toys are airplanes. He asks me to put videos of airplanes from YouTube on the TV. He talks constantly about airplanes. To the best of our knowledge, he’s taken exactly one airplane trip in his…
To be sure: We did not go into this whole host-parenting thing blind. To be equally sure: There is a big difference between having sight and 20/20 vision. When I researched and wrote the article “Rewriting Their Stories,” I literally took notes on what being a host parent was like from someone who was actively…
Dieudonne’ is French for “Gift from God,” and he is. That doesn’t mean, though, that deciphering how to actually say his name is something God made easy for this native English-speaker whose foreign language acumen amounts to a decent grasp of Spanish and just enough Italian to help me get through an amazing vacation without…
The news that we were going to be welcoming a child into our home did not exactly go over well with the two who have been around for awhile. I’m not sure what my wife, Carla, and I expected when we sat our boys down for a Family Meeting to tell them a host child…
The worst line in the history of music, I contend, comes from the 1984 Band Aid song “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” that road the coattails of “We Are The World” to shine a do-good spotlight on African famine. Now, before we continue, let’s answer the song’s question: No, the majority of Africans don’t…
Dieudonne became a part of our household amidst chaos, grief and weariness. Objectively speaking, it wasn’t a good time for us to welcome a 4-year-old with medical issues who didn’t speak a word of English. Of course, waiting for a “good time” to tackle that challenge is much like saying, “We’ll have kids when we’re…
Early this morning, as snow fell softly in the pre-dawn darkness outside and my family slept upstairs, I had a 45-minute conversation with a little boy who couldn’t understand a word I said and who said about only two words I was able to pick up — one of which led me to give him…
Back in college at good old Drake University (JO 92… T-Ders will understand), I had some pretty fantastic journalism professors. There was, of course, the legendary Bob-Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward, who, though he worked in Washington, D.C., during the Watergate era, did not, in fact, do any of the reporting that brought down a president. More important to…