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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things aren't super

I really try to keep things positive here, not in a fake way, but because who wants to read all about somebody's problems? At almost any time in life, you can find something to complain about, but having had a person in my life who focuses relentlessly on the negatives, I've seen firsthand how off-putting that is to others and how spirit-draining it is to oneself.  That's not how I choose to live my life.

That said, I'm having a hard time this week.  One of my boys has always struggled in school, not because of ability, but because of organization and motivation.  In-class assignments and tests are typically A's and B's, homework assignments are frequently zeroes.  It doesn't average out to a pretty grade.  He's in high school, and while I haven't been as active in seeking help from his teachers (because how do you fix smart kid/doesn't try?) as I clearly needed to be, I have had zero communication from any teacher or administrator through four years of this until a couple weeks ago when his counselor called to inform me he might not be able to graduate.

He actually finally got the message and had managed to start turning in homework and pull up most of the grades, with the exception of one class where they have almost no assignments.  I stopped feeling nauseous every time I checked his grades online.  And then yesterday, through a clusterf*ck of computerized grading issues (reading empty scores for assignments not yet due as zeroes, grades possibly not all entered) and dumb mistakes if you believe that (leaving a huge assignment in another class by mistake), he somehow had three F's, rendering him ineligible for volleyball even by the IHSA's ridiculously lax standards and once again facing the possibility of not being able to graduate.

Most of it has been resolved today, but his hold on the cap and gown is tenuous at best.  It's hard to watch your child try to dig themselves out of a deep hole of their own making.  It's hard to know what to do, to know that you should have handled things very differently as a parent, and to feel a large helping of blame.  It's hard to drive home with your sunglasses all fogged up from crying, and it's hard to sit in your evening class trying to pull yourself together while your professor thankfully ignores your sniffling and tears.

It was very nice, though, to have so many friends express concern, check in on me, or send virtual hugs last night when I vaguebooked a sad face as my status because I didn't want to spread my child's business all over the internet to people who know him. (I know, I know...still deciding if this'll post on my Facebook page or if only my regular readers -- mostly people who don't know him, which makes it all ok, right? -- will get to see it.)

And though last night's class was pretty much the last place I wanted to be, as we spent the first 20 or so minutes talking about how former students of three of my classmates passed away violently over Easter break (not a good conversation for "someone" who's already emotionally unstable)...and a teammate and his wife prepare for the race that memorializes their baby daughter...and as a former student begins to undergo some major chemo/radiation for a tumor...I'm reminded to count my blessings.

If our worst-case scenario is not graduating on time, that's bad, but it's not life or death.  My kids are healthy, they're relatively happy, and I can deal with the rest. 

I've got a roof over my head,
Someone to love me in a four poster bed,
And I can play this here guitar run and ride real far,
So I thank my lucky stars.
                               --Jimmy Buffet's "Lucky Stars" (slightly paraphrased)

23 comments:

  1. Hang in there girl. This too shall pass. I have been dealing with my own son's poor life decisions. He happens to get good grades but has decided to partake in a little pulling weeds if you catch my drift. Does that make you feel better at all? I kind of want to quit parenting. Wanna join me in a deserted island somewhere?

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  2. Chin up, grasshopper. In the words of Bob Jenkins, "it'll work itself out." And I love the new Buffet lyrics, by the way.

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  3. I know how hard this must be on you as a mom. But he's a smart kid, so he'll get through it, and with a decent life lesson out of the deal too, hopefully.

    But as a mom, sucks donkey balls, big time. Hang in there...

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  4. I can't imagine how tough this is on you right now - on all of you :-(
    Sending you a big hug and only positive thoughts!!!

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  5. Ah Kate....this I have no experience in...yet...I mean we have struggles of course but my boys are to young to face those kind of struggles..I still have to micromanage everything in shcool. I can imagine that as a mom this is extremely hard and you are a teacher on top of it so you KNOW both sides... I hope the ending is with the cap and the gown...hang in there...all you can do is support him and put the nagging mom hat on for a few months..he may hate you for a few days but he will love you for it in the end.

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  6. Nobody tells you how hard parenting is, nobody. It is really hard and there are good times and "opportunities."

    I'm sure this isn't going to get easy soon but I know you both will wind up in the right place. Might be hard to realize my context and totally based on what I've learned about you (and him) through your blog but I have total confidence in you.

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  7. Oh Kate, it is so hard when your kids hurt whether it is their fault or not. It is so easy to blame ourselves. This is a hard lesson for sure. Sometime I'll shoot you an email about issues I've dealt with as a parent. It can be so hard. Not graduating is a biggie. I feel your pain. Don't minimalize it. It is not life or death but it is not small at all. I hope so much it all works out.

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  8. Somehow I missed that post about your teammate's daughter. That is beyond my imagination. My heart goes out to them.

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  9. Being a Mom is the toughest job out there...but you are an amazing one, and I know he'll pull through!!

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  10. So sorry you have to deal with that Kate. That's a tough one. Tough to decide when to keep helping and when it's time for kids to help themselves.

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  11. He's a good guy (kid) Kate. And you are a good mom. Just hang in there! Love you!

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  12. Heart breaking for a son, Joshua, Ava, Benjamin, violent deaths of classmate's students....tears for me, too. Sniff. Sniff. Those that feel the highs really feel the lows, also. Hang in there. Golden Girl

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  13. Hang in there. Sometimes parenting is about letting them learn but still supporting them along the way!

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  14. Sorry Kate!! When I get frustrated with my kid, I always just hope that someday she will have a kid just like herself and then I have a glass of wine.

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  15. We've been there, Kate. It is so hard. Have the faith that he's a smart, good kid and he will get it one of these days. He'll be okay...he has an amazing person in his corner :)

    (((hugs)))

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  16. As the mother of a smart son who could care less about school, I totally understand your heartache. I know we have to stay on top of it now (he's only in 5th grade though), but worry at what point I can let him learn to be responsible for himself.

    I know my mother-in-law went through the same nightmare with my brother-in-law (11 years my husband's jr). I remember the day he called us to tell us that he was actually going to graduate and could show up at boot camp in June. Truthfully, I think one teacher may have fudged a grade after my father-in-law told him that he was sure the Navy would get his butt straightened out if they would just pass him. Ten years later and he's been very successful in the military. I think he was a kid that just had a need for structure and found his passion in serving our country.

    Many prayers and (((HUGS))) for you as you get through this tough bump in the motherhood road. While it is wise to count your blessings and reflect that this is really a hiccup in the grand scheme of life, don't discount how hard this parenthood gig is. But sometimes it is wise to remember my grandmother's words: "This too shall pass."

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  17. That is a hard one Kate. Hang in there, I'm sure things will work out. Children can be so vulnerable and don't make it easier for themselves. In the end we carry the hardship for and with them. Thinking about you...lots.

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  18. It's tough when it's our kids and not ourselves, but it's stress, and it's manageable. You will all get through it! :)

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  19. i don't have kids, so take this with a grain of salt. but i have BEEN that kid.

    i almost didn't graduate high school due to lack of proper credits, despite a decent GPA. it taught me something, and i survived intact. i almost didn't graduate college due to an administrative error, despite the exact same GPA. it taught me something (mostly that if nobody's bleeding and nobody's dead then anything is fixable) and i survived intact.

    i even managed to graduate from law school, having caught the snafu myself. early. lesson learned.

    he will be okay. you will be okay. i know it sucks. i, for one, thought my life was over when the whole blooming school knew i didn't take some stupid class i needed. but it wasn't.

    hang in there, girl. YOU'VE. FREAKING. GOT. THIS.

    *big hug*

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  20. He's learning a life lesson, hopefully.

    As a non-parent I have no real idea what you're going through, but clearly it sucks, and I'm sorry.

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  21. Keep your chin up! I don't have kids but I have lots of students, young adults in college, who seem to go through this all the time, he'll get through this. With a mom like you he has no other choice!

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  22. FYI - Ran with the Brown family this morning. Thought of you especially when I saw a cool pair of pink compression socks on a brown haired lady about our age. No braids, but I looked twice. :)

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  23. I'm sorry to read this Kate. Frustrating for sure. The teens are tough years because they're setting the stage for the rest of their lives. My husband was exactly that: smart kid who doesn't try. It got lots better but there was a ton of parental prodding and anguish to get over the humps. Big hugs.

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