Then I remember. I’m a Mom. Moms don’t get a Spring break. In fact, we have the opposite of Spring break, where we have to contend with our children being home, making pesky demands like meals and transportation.
I do get to sleep in late. That, I appreciate. Usually, I have to get up around 5:00 a.m. prod my son to get ready for school, a process that takes the better part of an hour. I like sleep almost as much as I like red wine and chocolate (and usually the more red wine and chocolate I consume, the more sleep I need). Even if I’m not sleeping, I love lingering in the cool sheets, playing Angry Birds while my cats purr. It would be heaven if I had a cup of coffee too. That, however, would require me to get out of bed, so I settle for extremely nice.
Once I get up, I have a couple of hours to write without interruption. It’s enough to fuel the blog, and maybe some paperwork, but just as I’m really getting into the meat of my work, my son will ask for lunch.
Why can’t he do what I do every day and graze on lettuce and Cheez-its? Because the box is empty, that’s why.
On top of his general needs, there is a list of other items we need to deal with–his socks have holes, his jeans are too short, he needs new shoes. The worst, however, is the Spring Break school assignment. He had to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and answer a number of questions about early humanoids. I was actually looking forward to an afternoon with my son, walking through the exhibits, marveling over all of the new facts we’d learn.
Then I remember, he’s a teen.
We start with coffee and donuts, so far so good, although he’s texting in the car rather than chatting, but we have the whole day together. He won’t sit next to me on the train, which is also fine, since he’s playing Need for Speed the entire time anyway. The difficulty begins once he starts the assignment.
Despite the fact that he’s in high school, and is a good student, for some reason, he thinks the answers on this worksheet should be obvious. The teacher asks “How was early man similar to/different from other primates?” He’s looking for an exhibit that says Early Man vs. Primates – Differences and Similarities.
I suggest that he might want to walk through the exhibit about the individual characteristics of early man, how they used tools, walked upright, communicated, formed social groups, etc., and he tells me that’s not it. “Okay,” I say, “I’ll sit on this bench. Let me know when you’re done.”
He visits me from time to time, complaining that the assignment is insane, the answers aren’t there, how is he supposed to do this, and so on. So I suggest again– “hey, did you read that exhibit over there. I think it had some useful information.” And I get the look. The one that says, what do you know, you’re a mom. He forgets that I’m a mom with a master’s degree, not that a master’s in business is any guarantee of intelligence, but I do have a year’s worth of anthropology under my belt.
So I go back to what I was doing. Wondering if Cro Magnon teens were as exasperating as their modern counterparts. Did they roll their eyes when asked to hunt and gather, saying “Mom, I know there are no berries over there, I walk by that bush every day, Geez! And stop grooming me, my friends are right over there!”
Ten minutes later, he has the answers filled in. I asked him where I found them.
“I had to go through that whole exhibit and read the whole thing.” He points to the exhibit I told him about.
“Really?” I answer.
“Worst assignment ever. You need, like, a master’s degree to figure it out.”
I just look at him. “Gee that’s too bad. Where are you going to find one of those?”
Then he smiles at me, and I think maybe he’s figured out I’m not so useless after all. “You know what, Mom?”
“It’s time for lunch.”
Words by J. B. Everett