Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Sun Rises

I went outside in my pajamas and stood in the middle of the street this morning to take these pictures.

I thought it was important to document that even after a night like last night, the sun still rose this morning.

It’s been getting rough with my youngest again. I am bumfuzzled. I actually have a book titled “What To Do When Your Kid Leaves You Speechless,” which is part of the “Parenting with Love and Logic” series. I should open it again and read it. A couple of weeks ago my email started getting slammed with “grade alerts” which I have set up to tell me when his grades drop below 85. I know that might seem high, but I want to know when to START worrying, not when it’s too late. But they were dropping like bombs, fast and furious… into the 30′s. All because of scads of missing assignments. So I grounded him – no computer, video games, phone, nothing until he brings his grades back up past 85. One of his teachers created a packet of make-up work and he had until after Thanksgiving to turn it in. But I couldn’t pin him down on it until just a couple of days before it was due. I literally had to sit at the table and go over each page, because if I got up, he’d just get up and leave it there.

So he gets it turned in, but he’s still grounded because the grades haven’t come back up yet. Then Friday I get a call from the vice principal. Dan got his face punched by some kid… turns out he flipped the kid off through a window, then proceeded to GO into the building and up the stairs to where the kid had been gesturing him to “come on up if you wanna,” kinda thing. The kid punched him out. The vice principal tells me the kid could have charges filed for assault but I’m like, no, he was provoked. I’ve been telling Daniel forEVER that he was going to act like a badass to the wrong person and get punched in the face one day. So the only other option was to file the incident as a fight, and both boys were suspended for 3 days. Fine… he’s still grounded, and he can use that 3 days to do nothing but chores and school work. School should be a relief after 3 days hard labor at home, not suspension be a welcome break from school.

So his father gets all sorts of pissed off at me for not being on Daniel’s side, that now he’s all alone and it’s my fault. I still hadn’t realized that Daniel has sneaked his phone out of the cabinet and has been texting, not only a friend but his father, telling him the exact opposite of what he’s been telling me. Telling his dad he wants to go live with him so he doesn’t have to listen to me anymore, telling me that his dad is completely wrong in the way he’s acting and how his dad is always bad-mouthing me and it makes him mad. His Dad tells me he wouldn’t be surprised at all if Daniel ran away from here again because of the position I’ve put him in, and I can’t understand this because Daniel is showing what seems to be genuine remorse for his behavior at school and voicing that the fault was entirely his fault and he deserved a punch in the face.

Yesterday was Daniel’s first day back after his suspension. Long story shorter than it could be, he didn’t come home from school. His dad called right about the time he should have gotten off the bus and I told him Dan wasn’t here. I didn’t think much of it – he could be doing homework in the homework center and come on a later bus. But at 7 he was still not here, and Paul (good Paul, the one I’m married to) says he’s going to go out looking. The kids dad (other Paul) calls right then and asks for Dan and I’m freaked out and tell him now that I don’t know where Daniel is…. he says something ugly and hangs up. Good Paul goes to the school and says there are a ton of cars there but he didn’t see Dan. Michael and Zach went back over there to look inside the school, while Other Paul heads here, and I call the police. Now it’s after 8 o’clock, 4 hours after school lets out. A policeman is standing in our living room filling out a missing persons report when Daniel walks in with his backpack, seeming completely innocent and oblivious to our freaked-out state. His dad shows up, won’t come in, and when I went outside while he was talking to Daniel – because I want to hear what Daniel’s saying, and what he’s saying. Well he doesn’t like that so he gets in his truck and tries to peel out. Which doesn’t work because they’re not good enough tires for that (haha… *I* have the right tires for that) but driving like that in a neighborhood full of children is just completely…assholish. Pronunciation – ass-ho-lish. You gotta say it right.

Daniel showed very little reaction. He was not shocked that the police were here, he did not rush to explain where he’d been (stayed at school for whatever event was going on, some choir thing), did not apologize for the scare or even look the least bit sorry that he hadn’t called, said he couldn’t call because he didn’t have his phone (at times when he has forgotten it in the past, he has always borrowed one from a friend to ask me this or that, like can he go to Sonic after school, and will I put money on his card?). I figure this whole scene has been orchestrated to teach me a lesson. This suspicion was strengthened when, before the night is over, he asks, “So, I guess you’ll want me to take my phone to school tomorrow?”

Um. No.

Now usually I don’t tell stories like this. I feel a strong loyalty to my friends and family and hesitate and usually refuse to tell a story that would mean I’m telling their story from my perspective. But I go back to that quote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Well this is my story. Let the damn world split apart.

But it didn’t. The sun rose this morning just like it did yesterday, just like it will tomorrow.

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