It has come to my attention that last week’s blog raised some concern among my extended family. While this is a good thing, it means they are reading what I write, it also caused me to take a look at my writing style, and realize that maybe I should clarify what is actually fact and what is exaggeration/fiction/humor/bull each week in my blog.
For the record none of my children were in a car with a bunch of drunken smokers who crashed into a tree. If they had been, I would hope they’d been wearing their seatbelts or at least taken out a sizeable life insurance policy with me as beneficiary, because if the accident didn’t kill them, I would.
What did happen last week, was I got into a discussion/argument with my indignant and testosterone filled youngest teenage son who asked why I had the right to come up with punishments for him. I took if form there.
In my blogs, I like to take a little event from my home life, then blow it so out of proportion that the child or adult in question wouldn’t recognize it should they stumble across the story on the web.
For example, this week’s blog is based on an exchange between my nearly 16 year-old-daughter and myself. She came into the kitchen and announced that she would be going to school early to attendance school to make up a couple of absences. She explained that 4 tardys equal an absence, and that her science class is held out on the far side of the school in the green house where it’s hard for her to get there one time. That’s it, a very normal somewhat boring parental exchange.
And then I started to work on it….
The Secret Inner World of the American Mom
I don’t know if it’s because the media is constantly reporting on all the ill’s befalling our society, or a kick back to my own teenage days where I watched my friends and other school mates participate in risky and sometime dangerous behaviors, but I have grown into an extremely paranoid mom. I suspect my children’s motivates and behaviors at every turn as I try to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Take for example the exchange with my daughter last Thursday night after dinner.
“Mom,” she announces with that casual sing-song voice she uses when she’s trying to play down some soon to come confession.
“Yes?” My ears perk up at that tone in her voice.
“I missed some classes this last month, and I have to go to attendance school tomorrow morning to make them up.”
Missed some classes? When could this have happened? I think I know my daughters every move. If she wasn’t in school she’d be home sick or with me at the dentist. Unless…
Had she started to cut classes? Had those wild friends of her convinced her to leave the campus and walk down to the Purple Turtle for a burger? No, teenagers don’t cut class for food. Maybe she went to get a tattoo? If she has a tattoo I’m going to murder her.
What if they didn’t walk? What if they got a ride from some crazy 16 year-old boy driving his parent’s mustang while he kissed his girlfriend up in the front seat, trying to stay on the right side of the road?
I tried to control the panic in my voice. “When did you miss class?”
She flips her head and grins. “I didn’t miss class, you know that. But I was late a few times. Four tardys are counted as missing a class.”
She was late? That could only mean one, or two… or several things. She was smoking grass under the trees by the end of the field with her new druggy friends. Or she was busy texting a guy, maybe a Senior guy and lost track of time. I’m so going to take away that cell phone of hers. Or maybe she was being harassed at school. Why wouldn’t she tell me about the bullies?
“It’s right after lunch” she continued. “So it’s hard to get there and eat too.”
Bulimia!!!! That sounds just like what someone would say who was busy throwing up her lunch every day. I had to get her to a therapist right away. If only I’m not too late!
“Uh where is the class?” I ask, trying not to let her see how anxious I am.
“Way on the other side of the campus. I have to run the whole way. But I told my teacher I’ll try to be better at coming on time so I don’t have to go to attendance school again.”
I can breath. She is making responsible decisions. She is the good girl I always thought she was.
“Well thanks for letting me know,” I say as casually as I can. “It’s good to know I can always trust you.”
She slides out of the room, smiling from ear to ear as her younger brother makes his way in…
“Hey mom, do you remember that rule about not driving in the car with drunken smokers unless you’re wearing your seat-belt? Well…..”