An absence of video-games is like have an appendage removed without anesthetic. He is crying on the way to school because never has there been a meaner mother. I watch him in the rearview. He's trying so hard to fight it - to show up with puffy eyes is to show up weak.
"Why can't you just take away the video-games for tomorrow?" He's hiccupping and leaking.
This is the result of yesterdays backseat fight between boys who were grouchy and tired and bored. A consequence that hurts is one that works - I refuse to bend to tears.
"You were warned. Maybe next time you'll listen."
"But - it's - game - day!" Students who aren't attending the Halloween dance may go to a 'Game Room' - to which everyone is bring their DS - to which it would be lame to come empty-handed - to which it would be lamer to bring Molopoly.
"Do you still love me?"
"Will you forgive me?"
I hug him in the school parking lot. He resists but I grab his arms and wrap them around me and he tries not to smile. "Don't fight with your brother."
"I love you."
"Love you, too." It's gruff but it's almost like he means it.
I go in to kiss his cheek and he lets me.
"Have a really good day!"
And he's gone to tell his friends how mean I am so they'll feel sorry for him and he'll feel better.