I had such a great time talking with Bear a couple of weeks ago that I swung for the fences and asked T-man if he’d let me interview him for the blog.
I’m happy to say he agreed. It probably didn’t hurt that I offered to do it over frozen yogurt, but it resulted in a lovely mini-date with my not-so-little guy.
Which means today I’m pleased to bring you T-man’s point of view.
me: So, super easy questions. To start off with, how’s the summer going so far?
T-man: Awesome. The Mexico trip is what made it awesome.
me: Yeah? That’s your best memory so far? What about Mexico sticks out for you?
T-man: The swimming with whale sharks.
me: That was cool…and you made a lot of good friends there.
T-man: Yeah, like El. And K…I didn’t have any friends that were boys, though.
me: Yeah, but that’s okay, sometimes that’s how it works out. All right, so now that you’re home for the summer what do you like doing when you’re hanging out around the house?
T-man: Riding the go-kart. Shooting baskets and playing with friends. I like to go to the pool. And chillax.
me: Me, too…the chillax part. How are you feeling about starting middle school?
T-man: Nervous. (laughs)
me: Is it just a feeling or is there something that makes you nervous in particular?
T-man: It’s just weird being at a school for six years and then moving to a new one.
me: Yeah. But you took that tour – what did you see on the tour that sounded kind of great about being in middle school?
T-man: A lot more freedom. And I’ve always wanted freedom so…
me: You do like freedom. What kinds of things do middle schoolers have more freedom with?
T-man: You can roam the school in between periods and stuff like that. Umm…you can bring, like, your phone and stuff to school. It’s just…more free. You don’t have teachers on you all the time.
me: Which you do in elementary school. Okay. What is your favorite subject at school?
T-man: ‘Cause it’s challenging. But sometimes easy. And it’s fun. Ms. Reich made it a lot of fun.
me: She did, didn’t she. All right. What’s your favorite food?
T-man: Waffles…haven’t I told you that?
me: I believe waffles have topped the list most of the time, yeah.
T-man: Waffles and fruit.
me: Waffles and fruit, those are awesome. And your favorite sport? It can be more than one.
T-man: Basketball and football. Even though I don’t play football.
me: Do you like to watch them on tv or just play them?
T-man: I like throwing a ball. It’s kind of fun to play two hand touch football around the house.
me: So let’s say you’re home and you’ve got a free hour to yourself, you can do anything you want. What would you choose to do?
T-man: I would say steal your car but –
me: (laughs) But then you’d be in trouble!
T-man: Yeah…so…if I could, take the four-wheeler for a spin. That would be awesome. (laughs) Steal your credit card, go to the Apple store…
me: (big giggles)
T-man: No, a little off topic there. Um…I would probably go find friends to hang out at the house with. Maybe have a hangout or something. A sleepover.
me: Okay. Well…there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now. You’re picking it up on the news and on YouTube.
T-man: Mostly news.
me: So what do you think about what you hear on the news these days?
T-man: It’s frickin’ scary.
T-man: Yeah. The whole ISIS thing, terrorists…and you can’t…they’re unpredictable, you can’t figure out where they’re gonna hit next.
me: I’m sure that does make things feel a little scary. All right. So. What’s the first word that pops into your head when I say the word “adoption”?
T-man: Different. Or weird.
me: Different or weird, those are both words. Well, how do you feel about being adopted?
T-man: Fine. I mean, it’s kinda weird…and I have to go through a little bit more, in between the adoption thing…like, not meeting my dad…my real dad.
T-man: But I’m kinda fine with it.
me: Well, tell me, if you could, what questions would you want to ask your dad or Miss C?
T-man: Umm…why they couldn’t take care of me…and why my real dad didn’t stay with Miss C.
me: Okay. And what would you want her to know about you? If you could send her a text…
T-man: Hi, I miss you. I wish you could see me more often.
me: So you’ve known you were adopted all your life. Some kids don’t find out until later; for some reason their parents don’t tell them ’til they’re older, but you’ve always known…how is it different now that you’re older?
T-man: It’s a little bit more pressure about it.
me: How do you mean?
T-man: There wasn’t a care in the world when I was, like, three, so…that was really nice.
me: Yeah. And you’re dealing with bigger stuff now, right?
me: Well, what’s it like having Bear around? Having a younger sister who’s adopted?
T-man: It’s weird ’cause you have to, like, think about she’s my sister, not just some girl I live with. But that’s kinda what I think sometimes ’cause that’s kinda what it is.
T-man: If you guys hadn’t been through the whole agency thing, she would be just a girl living with me and so…
me: So sometimes you think of her as your sister, and sometimes you think of her as the other girl who lives in the house…How do you feel about being an older brother?
T-man: It’s kinda nice. I’m older. I’m in charge. (laughs)
me: And how do you see your relationship with Bear? What’s it like?
T-man: It’s different…It can be, like, I don’t know the word. Like…confusing? But it can also be fun and awesome.
me: Yeah, sometimes you guys do have a lot of fun together. What part is confusing?
T-man: Just sometimes the way we treat each other. How the mood changes. How things can change – like we’re playing and all of a sudden Bear accidentally hits me and it turns, like, into we’re living bazookas.
me: You know, I have to say, that sounds kinda like a brother/sister thing. I’m fairly certain most brothers and sisters have those moments. All right…honesty time, are you ready?
T-man: Aw, man! Okay…
me: Describe your relationship with me and dad. Be honest. (pause) What’s a word you think of when you think of me and dad?
me: Okay. Another one.
me: Hmm. Always?
me: That’s fair. So, what do you wish other kids knew about adoption?
T-man: Umm…I don’t know…like, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Kids make a big deal out of it a lot.
me: And you wish they would just get over it ’cause it is what it is? (He nods.) Well, what’s the hardest part about being adopted?
T-man: Umm…living with…not knowing who could be my family. My, like, who could be in my other family. Like I’ve never met with my grandma. I’ve never met my dad, or any of that stuff.
me: Okay. What’s the best part?
T-man: Uh…I don’t know. I seem to be spoiled a lot, that might have a little bit to do with the adoption. Maybe.
me: Well, this life that dad and I live…do you think we would be living the same life if –
me: – we had biological kids?
me: You don’t think dad would be working for the same company?
T-man: Well, he probably would. But it wouldn’t be exactly like it is right now.
me: No, ’cause there would be different kids here. There would be different children present…if, um, you say that being spoiled might have something to do with the adoption does that mean that you think you have the things you have because you’re adopted?
T-man: Sort of. Like, that kind of gives something like acceptance.
me: That’s interesting.
T-man: Sort of… (pause) Is that a bad thing?!
me: No, it’s just very interesting. I never thought a lot about the fact that you might think we do things for you or we give things to you because you’re adopted. That’s an interesting perspective.
T-man: Gotcha Day is like that.
me: Well, Gotcha Day is a special day for us, you’re right, and not everybody has one. Right?
me: That’s why we always recognize it ’cause not everybody has one of those. What advice would you give to someone younger than you who’s adopted?
T-man: Like T__?
me: Like T__, yeah.
T-man: It’s not the worst thing in the world.
me: Good. And let’s say you met someone who was like, twenty, who had been adopted when they were a baby. What questions would you ask them?
T-man: Did people make fun of you when you were older? Like, in high school.
me: Yeah. Because they would have lived through that.
me: What’s it like to have parents who are a different color than you?
T-man: Ooh. (pause)
me: There are no wrong answers.
T-man: Um, I would have to say…it’s weird. Very weird.
me: Okay. Can you tell me a little more about weird?
T-man: I’m just used to seeing, like…some people say “you look like your parents” and I’m like, how is that possible?
me: That is pretty interesting, isn’t it?
T-man: And I’m like, how in the world do you think I look like them?
me: Well…so when you look at other families, do you see them as looking alike?
me: Okay. What about Miss gem and Iz?
T-man: Yes. Well…
me: Yeah? When they’re out people look at her and her son…
T-man: She’s like, pale as can be, and he’s like my color.
me: Bless her, she is whiter than white, so there’s an example of a family that had a biracial child and he looks totally like his dad.
T-man: That’s a good point.
me: So they’re a lot like us when they go out. Actually, you and I probably look a little more alike than they do, if you think about it. (I held my arm up against his.) Okay, only two more.
T-man: Okay, two more.
me: Is there anything you wish that people knew about your family?
T-man: You’re really nice parents, and everybody –
T-man: No, I’m serious! Please don’t do that!
me: That’s very sweet. Thank you…all right, so. I’m going to say the same thing to you that I said to Bear at the end of the interview. This is your chance. I’m always talking about us on my blog. I tell all our stories, I tell silly dog stories and silly kid stories…this is your chance to say anything you want to the readers of Riddle from the Middle. What would you like to tell them?
me: Anything you want.
T-man: I like waffles.
me: Fair enough! Thank you. You da bomb.
And that’s T-man’s take on things.