Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ready for a Straight Jacket

I used to be that kid who had a problem when she got an A- on her report card instead of an A. I tried not to worry too much, but I did anyway. I knew that good grades were my way out and up. I knew that my dad wanted me to get a good education. I knew that I loved school, books, teachers, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, all of it.

These days, I'm absolutely batshit out of my mind crazy. Yes, I could qualify for an 4-F exemption if I were drafted by the military. If there were a mental institution within a hundred mile radius of my house, I'd have been put there by now.


My son is careless about school, about doing homework, about turning work in that he's completed, about preparing for tests. The thing that gets me the most is that he's either smarter than I am or just as smart. I've studied his skills. Well, crap!

I spend hours nagging him to get working. I can still feel the anxiety that comes of procrastination even when it's not my work. I want him to succeed. I really do. I'm trying to figure out a way to back out of it completely, but he's in seventh grade. He's not quite mature enough for me to leave him totally alone when it comes to initiating homework time.

It's not working. If I tell him at 3:15 to get a snack and get started by 3:30, I'm still nagging at 5:30 when it's time to leave for karate. I'm nagging when we get back home and he surprises me, after doing some work in the car, with work he'd forgotten was due tomorrow, or an upcoming test.

Tomorrow, he's retaking a test he failed because he was sick last week. I get that. In fact, his teacher said that he could retake the test, that it was no problem. On the way home from karate, he announced that he was done with all of his homework.

I started to breathe again.

"Well, I have a Language Arts packet that I need to do too. I'm done with Math." Tears sprang to my eyes as they began to sting.

"And I have to retake a test tomorrow at lunch. I failed because I missed last week."

"Yes, your teacher said you might have some problems with that. So do you understand the material now?"


"So, if you took the test again right now, you'd get the same grade you got the first time?" My breathing became ragged. My heart rate increased by at least 50% and I tried to keep from swerving off the road as my vision blurred.


So what the hell are you doing?, I want to scream at him. Instead I tried to tell him that I was a National Merit Finalist, that I got three scholarships to college, that I was on the honor roll so much as I kid, it didn't mean anything to me unless I got straight As. I tried to tell him that his skills at the same age were comparable to mine, probably better in math. I tried to tell him he has the capacity if he only took the initiative.

"But Mom..," he said and grinned at me through the rearview mirror.

"What?" I asked, hoping I'd finally gotten through to him.

"I'm stronger than you ever were."

Certifiable, I'm telling you. I'm sure I qualify for the padded room by now and even then, they might have to keep me tied to a guerney.

Thank you for listening, jules

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