Today I continue with “Parenting: Hard Work If You Can Get It”. I wasn’t planning to make this a blog mini-series, but I truly have to share some of the highlights of my week, parenting my teenaged children.
My son and I planned to meet at his school yesterday before Parent/Teacher conferences to have a quick lunch together on Stone Street. Class was to end at 11:08 a.m. (approximately), so we decided to meet at 11:10, giving him sufficient time to ride the elevators down from the towering building which houses his high school.
I ran downtown. It was windy and cold and I wasn’t wearing gloves or a hat, since I have convinced myself that winter is over. The subway took forever to arrive, so I texted him telling him that I was likely to be about 5 minutes late.
Got off the subway at Bowling Green (what is Bowling Green anyway?), and got lost walking to his school. Passed Stone Street so knew I was warm, but stupidly continued north until I found myself on the wrong avenue and about seven blocks past my desired destination. How can I get lost going four subway stops to a school that I visit several times a week? Because I have the worst sense of direction in the entire world. If I say “left” just go “right”. I’m not kidding. I mean really. You would think that I was in Tokyo and couldn’t read of speak Japaneses (been there, done that, and believe me it was a total disaster!).
I arrived in a frazzled state, and looked for my son at our meeting spot but he was nowhere to be found. I had already called his cell phone to tell him I was lost (knew he would get a kick out of that and be calming to speak to) but his phone went to voicemail. Entering the school I was surprised that there were no students or parents anywhere. Normally on these Parent/Teacher days there are dozens of people mingling around the school’s entrance and in the lobby, but there was not a soul in sight. I figured I was really late and that everybody had already gone out to eat, or remained upstairs to sign up with their teachers for those precious and coveted 5 minute conferences.
“May I help you?” the guard asked.
“Waiting for my son,” I said, removing my kindle from my bag. “We’re having lunch together today. Have they gotten out yet?”
“Lunch isn’t for another 30 minutes”, he told me. “Are you aking him out to lunch only or out for the rest of the day?” he continued.
“I’m here for Parent/Teacher conferences,” I explained. Did this guy know nothing?
“Those are next Friday,” he explained.
Story of my life…
I write down the wrong date and put it in every calendar on the planet, and remind my son about fifty times. I write back and forth with his Guidance Counselor, to be certain to have 10 minutes with her, and to review the time he will be released from school. My son and I talk and text and Facebook, confirming our plans. I get to his school and he’s in class. He has not realized that I made another scheduling error, so he has not informed me.
I walk outside and head back to the Bowling Green subway, making certain to take the uptown train rather than the one to Brooklyn. An hour and a half after I have ventured downtown my adventure ends.
My son calls me after school on his way home, after having sent me a text saying, “Love you.” He is a smart young man and knows how to butter me up. I could either laugh about this or scream, and he is hoping for laughter today.
“I was so surprised,” he told me “that nobody was leaving school at 11:08 today, but I couldn’t call you or my phone would have been confiscated.” That’s my boy… following the rules like I have told him. Yikes.
What about your daughter, you wonder? How was parenting her this week? Well… I’ll tell you. She has been studying day and night for the SAT’s, which started this morning at 8 a.m. Actually, she has been studying for the SAT’s since she was 12 years old, when she took them for the first time. She actually likes taking standardized tests (something that for me were the equivalent of swallowing some very bad medicine as a child). She searches on the internet for websites that have the most frequently used words from SAT’s given over the past ten years. She has practice books galore. Her tutor is amazing, and they sit together for hours and hours, both of them focused on achieving perfect scores.
My daughter wanted to arrive at Stuyvesant by 7:45. We discussed what she should take with her (snacks, water, money, pencils, her phone, i.d., the admission ticket) and how she would get there. I told her I would be sleeping when she got up so she assured me that she would set her alarm clock for 7 a.m. and see herself off.
Finally… today… the last SAT test she would take! A milestone (though the SAT 2’s are not far behind) in a teenager’s life. A major factor in where she will be admitted to college, which is naturally her major focus in life.
My sleep was restless this morning. I woke up at 7 a.m., the time she had said she would wake herself. I listened for her but heard nothing, and dozed a bit more. Despite my exhaustion, I could not get back to sleep, worried that she had overslept, but certain that she had not. She has been waiting for this day for almost five years.
I went back to sleep, figuring that she had not been able to sleep and had left early to get a good place in line. At 7:30 I got up and listened at her door, which was closed (but what teenager doesn’t keep her door closed? Her room usually looks like it has just been hit by a tornado). I opened the door and heard nothing. She sleeps in a loft, which appeared to be empty. Just to be sure I called her name…
And guess what?
She was fast asleep!
Stay tuned for Part 3.