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
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?”
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.