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Parenting bites

I’m at my wits end!

School’s out for summer! Woohoo!! That final bell tolled and my kids made the customary whooping exit from the school buildings. Backpacks were haphazardly discarded into bedroom closets. Sleepovers plotted with scary efficiency. Plans to wile away the long days with water fights and trampoline tents were created. My kids were ready.

But, an axe loomed. It hung over my high schoolers neck; dangling by a tenuous thread. Will we log on and find that he did in fact do all of the promised work thus passing sophomore year? Or, would we find that the stories of passing grades were mere fiction crafted to save his hide until he was found out? Alas, I must confess myself disappointed.

The high schooler had grades that brought out the mad mom. The disappointed mom. The mom who, yes is a pastors wife but former Marine, used a few choice words as her professed disappointment escalated. The I’m-ready-to-ship-him-off-to-Switzerland mom.

Like any decent, self-respecting parenting duo, my husband and I discuss and consult each other before dropping the hammer on our kids shenanigans. We see where each other’s headspace rests and we decide on a fair consequences to the actions of our children. This time was no different. He’s typically the good cop and I’m the bad cop. Tonight, I was the mad/bad/frustrated/irritated cop.

I love my children to no end. I would tear the earth apart if anything happened to them. Maybe it’s this love that makes me want to tear my hair out when I see one blatantly failing to live up to any sort of potential. Like just straight failing to try or even pretend to care. It’s maddening. We’ve talked to him. Grounded him. Ungrounded him. Took away every privilege. Hovered closer than a bumblebee. Stepped back and watched from the sidelines. Nothing has worked.

His failure feels like my own failure. His inadequate attempts at school make me feel as though I am an inadequate parent. Mentally, I know it isn’t true. But, it doesn’t stop me from feeling that deep sense of failure. I want to hide in a closet for the next two years and hope he passes. I know I can’t.

Right now, my kid probably detests the very thought of breathing the same air as me. Even though he brought it all on himself. And, he will dislike me even more as hard-nose mom emerges for the next few weeks. I hope someday, years from now, when he has kids of his own that he has to discipline, he remembers me telling him “I wouldn’t be sitting here ticked off to high Heaven if you’d done what you were supposed to do!” And when he remembers that, I hope he understands the love behind that statement.

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