I used to have this lovely child–blond, sweet, snuggly. He’d tuck into the crook of my elbow to hear a story, or share a bowl of popcorn over a Red Sox game. At the moment, both son and baseball team are painfully vexing. One of them I can choose not to watch. The other, not so much.
It’s finals week at the high school–his first. I’m not sure he knows what to expect. To be honest, I don’t either. What I do know is that it counts and this school system doesn’t seem to take the easy route with anything, so I expect this won’t be any different. My son’s laid-back temperament is usually a plus, but he’s not conveying enough urgency to satisfy his nerdy parents. It’s not that we care so much about the grades. We care about him caring.
All we have to do is ask about finals and we get the death glare. His stare conveys words that would get him grounded if he said them aloud. He has the noisiest silent treatment I’ve ever heard. Every book is snapped shut, every door closed with great intention. Even the pencil hits the table with a hearty “thwak.” I can hear him pacing in his room above my office. I think he’s wearing cleats. He gets it from my mother. We knew she needed help in the kitchen not because she asked for it, but because we could hear the cabinet doors open and close from the other end of the house.
My husband gave him what I thought was a gentle lecture. I even complimented him on handling it well before I went upstairs to practice. The boy and I get locked into conflict from time to time. He wants me to acquiesce, I want him to accept my no and stop glaring at me. Neither is going to happen. Just as I was settling into a good violin hash session, the boy stomped up the stairs and into my studio (it’s a spare bedroom. I just like calling it that). He flung open the door and exclaimed–
“Tell Dad to stop micromanaging me!”
Sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face around here.
“Your father is micromanaging you. How, exactly?”
“He tells me I’ve been on one page too long.”
“How long were you on that one page?”
“Were you looking at the page?”
Silence + Death glare. That went well. Teentosterone strikes again.
Now that I’ve identified the culprit, I’ll start working on the cure. I hear time does wonders and in the meantime a glass of wine and a good sense of humor doesn’t hurt. I dread when he starts dating. One overactive hormone is enough.
J. B. Everett