My almost 11-year-old and I were sitting together last night clipping our fingernails. We were talking to one another, but our focus was downward, involved in our present task. So he didn’t see it when, like lightening, my right hand shot out and swiped at the air beside me. He only saw the end of the gesture: me with my closed fist in front of my chest.
“How much do you wanna bet I have a dead mosquito in here?” I asked him, jiggling that fist a little so it would get his attention.
His eyes lit up, dazzled by the mere prospect. “No way!” he said. (He’s the only one in the family who can raise a single eyebrow, and he did so at this time.)
“I bet I do,” I said, taunting.
He looked skeptical. “You can’t catch a mosquito in mid-air,” he said.
That was exactly the challenge I was waiting for. I slowly uncurled my fist. In it (to my own surprise and relief) was what remained of an early-season mosquito, a bit mangled, but easily recognizable.
He looked at it, and me, in awe for not quite a half a second. Then he reaffixed a blasé look on his face and said, “Mom. If you had done that with your eyes closed – snatched it by the side of your head just from hearing it’s quiet buzzing – and then thrown it in one motion straight into the garbage can, that would have maybe been something.”