Monday, February 2, 2009
At six am the alarm was blaring and I had to get up. I had to get my son up. He doesn’t wake to his alarm. I imagine I’ll have to be there when he’s forty, creeping old rickety bones to his bedroom and standing over him like the grim reaper... “Son, get up. You have a board-meeting at 9:00 am.”
This morning my eyes were (are) puffy. My nose was (is) stuffy. I didn’t sleep well. The kitten spent half the night on my face and the other half attacking my feet. I was having stress dreams. It seems I was a restaurant manager. No one respected me. Lucky me I garnered the "I hate you so much I’ll spit in your face" kind of disrespect. I also had no authority to administer discipline and therefore earn respect. The restaurant owners didn’t understand why I was failing. I quit that job just before I woke up. I woke with no income, nothing in the pipeline and the alarm screaming.
After he showered and dressed the boy came down wearing a shirt that didn’t belong to him. I have no idea where it came from. He did not eat breakfast. His eyes were also puffy and tired. I don’t know when he went to sleep. He was sent to bed at ten.
The other two kids were still asleep and it was my morning to drive. The hub was already at work. I left the girls sleeping. The eight (nearly nine) year old knows she’s in charge for the twenty-minutes I’m away. I flashed back to my latch key days. It’s not a good memory.
I dropped the boy off at school and came home to start a load of laundry. There, in the basket, were his gym clothes. This is the first time they’ve come home since September. Today he’ll have to borrow clothes. His grade may be docked. Another check in the failure of parenting box.
Next I woke middle daughter. Grumpily she stumbled to the shower. I sat and read the school newsletter that miraculously made it home last week. The TAG (talented and gifted) testing was done. Parents of potential TAG kids were notified. Nobody called my house.
And here's the thing -- middle daughter is very bright. Very very bright. And she is bored. This year she’s losing interest in school. She hasn’t been turning in her homework. For that matter homework hasn’t been making it home. I was hoping she might have other opportunities next year. Something to challenge her. Looks like TAG isn't it.
I was in TAG (actually it was called GATE; gifted and talented education). In the fourth grade I had to stay after school and learn to balance a check book while my friends went out to play. I also had to wear a chin cup to correct an under bite. Understandably I was quite popular.
I’m not a fan of TAG, per se, as I did not enjoy it. But my daughter needs something different than she is getting and I’m at a loss as to what to do.
I shoved some (hopefully salmonella free) peanut butter toast in middle daughter’s hand as she headed out the door. Her hair was gnarled. She didn’t have time to brush it.
And there you have it. My morning in a nut shell. It is nearly 10 am. The five year old is still asleep. I’m sitting in my reading chair drinking coffee and staring through greasy fingerprints at the world outside.
I wonder if it's too late. Too late for my kids and too late for me. Have they already lost their potential? Is the kinetic energy spent? How to get moving again. How to move in the right direction. I wonder if my children will survive me. Will they blame me for squandering their childhood?
Little sis will soon be up. I’ll have to feed her. Provide her with mental stimulation. I also need to plan dinner. To shop. To cook. To clean. I’ll continue to check the failure box as I’m confronted with the daily reminders of my short comings; homework not done, breakfast not eaten, dirty dishes, filthy carpets, laundry strewn about, a backyard full of pine needles and a front walk covered in ice. I’ll let the baby play Toon Town while I struggle to manage the house. Check. Check. Check.
Where is the balance? The peace? The contentment? Why am I having such a difficult time today? I do not know. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Maybe it’s me putting my head in the sand for too long. Me with my hands over my ears -- naaa, naaa, naaa, I don’t hear you. It's all good. All good. All good.
The sun is out. It is supposed to be warm. I think we’ll try to talk a walk. A long long walk. Perhaps that will change my perspective. In the meantime I guess I’ll get down to it. First step -- greasy fingerprints from windows; I need to clear the view.