Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Day

One thing I love about teaching is the prospect of a "do-over" every semester for the repeat courses. It's a great thing being given the opportunity to restate information to students, to tweak assignments to make them more effective, to adjust lecture material to make it more interesting and accessible.

J seemed to have the same feeling with the start of the semester. Towards the end, he gave up because the snowball had become too large to manage. He blew major classes in the semester because he believed there was no chance to salvage his grades, and he was probably right. Too much make-up work.

Tonight he's working hard to complete assignments. He told me he was going to really try to get all the homework done. "Check my homework every day, Mom. I'm really going to do this. I have to."

Do-overs are soooo wonderful.

Friday, January 09, 2009


It's been a hellish week - the child, J, isn't attending school. At all. We've got the school involved, he'll be cited (50 hours community service for him; three hours in court, court costs and getting up early to take him to community service for us), he's lost his phone, computer time, money for lunch, rides anywhere. He still has a warm bed to sleep in, food, clothes, medical care. He left without permission to hang out with friends and didn't come home until nine o'clock. He grinned at me through the front door's window, cold yet sweaty from skateboarding in 60 degree weather. Hungry. I was surprised to see him, sure he'd stay the night out. Sure he'd miss tomorrow's drum lesson and Saturday detention. I was wrong. D told me he'd be back.

"You missed dinner," I said as he strolled inside. He made himself a can of soup. Made small talk with M. Watched TV with D. Went to sleep. Another day...

Dealing with this has left D and I feeling hopeless, helpless. The situation reminds me much of when I was a child and could do nothing to control an out-of-control mother. It frustrates me. Saddens me. I see such a bad end. The depression is rolling in like late-night fog and when the children leave for school, I crawl into bed and stay there until noon.


M is enrolled in gymnastics for the first time. She loves it! She's sweet in her baby-roundness, in her clumsy efforts to follow along. She smiles at me, though, from the blue mats, trying hard, and at the end accomplishes moves she could not do at first. I sit and watch, listening to the other mothers. One boasts about how she follows her children all day long from activity to activity. "I don't miss anything. I'm there all the time whether it's practice or the games. I have three children and I get to every thing they do."

I don't understand why she needs to prove her devotion so loudly. I say nothing. We were devoted like that to J.

The exercise is good for M and will improve her tendency to fall easily, make her less clumsy. She's too much like me in that way. On the way home, M tell me about the Vice-Presidential run-off she's in for her second grade. She's concerned about the boy-girl ratio. I tell her that Hillary Clinton had the same problem. We both agree that politics is a rough road. She wants to know how many times a President can run for office. She's calculating how many times it might take to turn around that boy-girl ratio.

Next week I'm headed to a university retreat in the local mountains. I'll be grateful for the change in pace, for the snow, for the cozy dinner. It will be nice to sleep in a warm bed, alone, and in complete white silence.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Another day, another...

Another day, another opportunity for my eldest and dearest to tell me to "fuck off." His language is such a delight! It always makes me self-reflect, wondering, classically, where did I go wrong? At what point did he decide that life "in the box" was not his thing? I don't even know WHAT his thing is anymore.

I don't know where he thinks he will end up. To him, the streets seem a viable and sometimes preferable place to being in a home where he has to attend classes and not fail them, oh, and not commit crimes. That is ALL we require. I don't demand that he do chores, or get straight A's (hell, I don't demand C's), or even be nice to people.

BUT...the streets is where he'd prefer to be. I'm not sure what to do about it. I thought therapy would be good, but he refuses to comply. Medication he won't take. He simply says, "fuck off."

God, I'm so glad I decided to procreate.

This morning, I dreamt of my mother. I was so relieved that she was here and ready to tackle the problem of J. I cannot quite convey the intense disappointment when I wakened to a darkened room, with my husband snoring away and my dog curled up in between my knees.

Damn, it's all on me. Still.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Procrastination runs in the family. Tomorrow the kids start back at school and in these last moments of vacation, I checked A's teacher's website and oh dear, there's a book report due on Friday. I scrambled through our own limited library for books to read, plugging them into the Accelerated Reader website to see the reading level and finally said...hell with that, kissy, kissy, go to bed.

I ask, why did I not take a peek at the website two weeks ago? Why did my little angel not bother to remember that this book report needed to be done, i.e. that reading needed to be done? He's in sixth grade - I think he's ready to take some responsibility for his own school requirements. Yes?

J has an opportunity to audition for a band that might get media attention and so to do that, he needs to practice the most basic elements of drumming: keeping a beat for longer than three minutes. He played all of five minutes today. He says, "Yeah, I'll do it." I won't even mention the schoolwork situation. We have two letters on the counter saying he's failing courses at high school. Yeah, yeah...I'll do it.

I have many projects sitting on a desk at work waiting for me. Yeah, yeah, I'll do them.

What is my New Year's resolution? Get better at not procrastinating. I'll try to get to that res tomorrow...or in the next few days. Sometime later this month.

M is like her father and is not a procrastinator. She might be young, 8 years old now, but she is always keenly aware of school obligations, or important dates, or activities. She put out her school clothes for tomorrow morning. She made sure she was in bed at 9:00. She always comes home and does homework right away. I pray she will always be so punctual.

J, A, and I will drown beneath put-off obligations.


I so wish to return to daily/weekly blogging. I miss my home here. I'd love to say, I will write here every week/day. Yeah, I'll do that.


Where has 2008 gone? We struggled with J most of the time. I struggled with my marriage the rest of the time. D and I have very different viewpoints on how to handle difficulty. In the end we are textbook dysfunction: we point fingers at each other and everyone is miserable. We dare not venture near the other because we're too pissed off. I cannot seem to rise above the muddy fray. Instead I choose to wallow, burying myself in work. At work. At least there, there is the semblance of functionality.

My second resolution is for a better family life, but I doubt that will happen.

My third is to get through the promotion process at work successfully. I'll let you know if that happens in February, 2010.


I'm terribly lazy when it comes to exercise. Wouldn't it be grand to try for that 20 minutes a day routine? Yeah, yeah...that would be a fantastic resolution to accomplish. I'll get to it after I read a few more pages of "Hood" by Stephen Lawhead.


Happy New Years, blogger-world. May you all have resolutions that can be accomplished. And get a little goofy in the process.