Mothering, two days

8 Mar

My children are rarely in a bad space at the same time. When one is mad, sad or crazy, the other is happy, up and sane. Yesterday was an exception. It’s been cloudy and raining for three days and now it’s snowing–madly. When the house was empty for a few hours,  I wrapped myself up in a blanket, sacked out on the couch and watch Sex and the City reruns. (It’s amazing how dated it seems; fodder for another post)

My daughter, who is 18, in her senior year of high school is anxious while waiting to hear if she’s getting in her first choice college.  She is a teenager– which means life at home is unpredictable: she flies between being irrational, snarky, mean and loving. Lately it’s been all snarky and hateful all directed at me.

“You’re mean” and “I don’t like you right now,” are on her current loop. This reaction is mostly because I am no longer driving her two and a half blocks to the train station and no longer waking her up to go to school.

She takes a train downtown to a community college. She finished all her high school requirements early and is now taking college courses and earning college credits, which is a good thing; she likes to sleep until 15 minutes before she has to leave the house to make the train. A bad thing. When I was driving her, we’d fight everyday about her nonchalance about  making the train. I had given her notice that I would no longer be driving her a week before, explaining that she needed to start getting herself up and out of the house on her own. I told her, have been telling both of them, that I’m not helping them by doing things for them that they are capable of doing themselves.

This is not going over well.

I don’t expect my daughter to understand that what I’m doing now is good for her in the long run.

My son.

He ran home yesterday from school at the final bell. He  is supposed to stay for another hour with a tutor. He didn’t go. He ran home, ran to his room and  fully dressed, got in bed.  Eventually he told me what had happen. He’d gotten his interim report card and had an F in a required elective course. He misses half the class because of another class; bad scheduling but shit happens and the situation is being remedied. Ford has all As in his other courses. Six hours later, he was still bereft. As I was writing the beginning of this post, I could hear him giving his Dad a hard time and I heard a door slam. I couldn’t finish this last night, because my son came upstairs to my office to announce that he wasn’t going to school tomorrow (today). Worn out from  having dealt with the body blows from my daughter, I was calm with him.

He sat on my lap.

“It’s time to go to bed.”

“I’m not going to school tomorrow.”

“Yeah, you are.”‘

“No, I’m not.”

“You wanna go and read?”

We read and listen to a novel on tape in his bed most nights.


“Did I ever tell you that I was bullied in middle school?”

He nods.

I told him that every night, before school, I would have a stomach ache. I was so stressed at the thought of going to school the next day that I often begged my mom to let me stay home. Clara wasn’t having it. I couldn’t stay home from school unless I was bleeding–from my eyes. She knew what was going on at school. I told this to Ford. I also told him that when things are painful and difficult, we have to stand up and face them. It’s hard and you can be scared, but you have to face it.

He was quiet for a beat or two.

“Can we go and read now?”

This morning I made him hot chocolate and a grilled cheese sandwich before he went to school.


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