Crunch Time


Go, go, go, seems to be the order for the day for everyone I care about.  I was on the go from the moment I opened my eyes until about 10:30 this evening.  First work, then my son’s volleyball game where I watch him sit on a bench and getting 0 play time.  Then rushed home and picked apart the carcass of a chicken and peeling and inhaling an old banana before jamming to church.  Busy?  Yes.  But in between and with every spare moment I was either talking to Harry on the phone or chatting with him on the computer.  We laughed, we flirted, we had some moments of reflection.  He vented about work a bit and I did my best to make him smile.  I’m still on cloud 9 and I was managing, and feeling strong.

When I walked through the door home from church, everything changed.  I felt like someone changed the channel.   My romantic comedy was replaced with a drama.  One of those after school specials with stressed out teenagers who take all their frustrations out on their mom cause she is an easier target than the volleyball coach that hasn’t played you in three games.  An easier target than a band teacher who has practically forced you to be in three performances outside of your regular class load despite two performance festivals, and finals looming.

My daughter, in addition to her normal classes which include AP and advanced math classes and four performance classes,  also has three extra-curricular bands, a $200 SAT prep class,  and AP test prep classes all after school.  Oh and Prom this weekend.

One minute I’m sitting with her on her bed in tears trying to give her encouragement and inspiration.  The next minute I’m telling my son that he has no choice but to pick up his floor so the housekeeper can vacuum in the calmest and most authoritative tone I can muster.  But he’s not happy and starts to yell at me.  I simply state to him that he will not be allowed to use a bad day as an excuse to raise his voice to me, or make excuses for himself to get out of responsibilities.  I shut the door and I’m back with my daughter who is now picking up the clothes off of her floor  cause she heard what I was saying to my son, while explaining to me that her prom date would be picking her up at 5.

I open my son’s door, literally 5 minutes as gone by and he’s laying on his bed with a clean room.  “How long did that take you?”  I ask.  “Five minutes.” He says.  “Was it worth yelling at me about?” “But Mom, I’ve had a hard day….” he’s at it again.

“No, that is a yes or no question.”

“No…I’m sorry.”  He concedes.  I give him a hug.  And tell him that I only want him to be the best he can be.

“Mom?”  Feeling warm and fuzzy, I’m thinking the drama was all over, I say, “Yes sweetie?”

“I really need to know if you can take pics of me and the twelve couples before prom, they’re really pressuring me and you are a pro.”  *sigh*

A half hour later I’ve committed to taking pics for one hour with his group then rush home to help my daughter do her finishing touches and take pics of her and her date before both kids hopefully go off to have the time of their lives.  And I will spend the evening home alone editing.

I look at the clock and notice it’s 9:30 pm and I haven’t eaten dinner yet so I break open a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Don’t judge. it’s childhood comfort food.

As I’m making my gourmet meal, I’m running around the house trying to pick up shoes, and socks, and trash, and mail.  I find a thank  you card envelope from the teenage mom down the street whose baby shower I attended this weekend and took the time to open it and smile.  I take a second to thank God that my own kids’ problems are far less complicated and decide I need a glass of wine tonight.  I’ve earned it.

I slop my macaroni into my mouth and set off for the store where lucky me, Peanut M&M’s (for my son), Junior Mints (for my daughter) and a Cabernet (for me) was all found on sale and head to the check out where my favorite checker Dave was finishing a conversation about his hair cut.

“Hi!” he’s always all smiles.  And bids the people in front of me goodbye by saying, “Well at least she doesn’t use the epi-lady anymore.”

“Oh I remember those things, they were awful.”  I chime in.

“Yeah it was like my wife was pulling out each hair on my head one by one.”  I laugh.

“I think it was a little S&M type thing cause she got WAY too much enjoyment out of it.”  I laugh some more.  This is the most animated I’ve ever seen Dave.

Thank God, cause I needed a laugh tonight.

“At one point I just said, ‘step back with the epi lady!’ and I had to put my foot down.”  At this point I was rolling.  And thanked Dave for making my night.

He said, “Anytime, enjoy your vino.”

Somehow it’s 11:30 pm now and I’m just feeling settled in as if it were 7:00.

My daughter will skip 0 period Jazz band because I gave her permission to do so tomorrow.  My son will continue to enjoy “senior week” which means no homework and late start each day.  And I will wake up and we will all manage to get through our days.

Right before my daughter went to sleep I reminded her that all of the pain, and anguish she is going through right now is to be considered training for the big event.  And the harder she trains now, the easier it will be later.  I’ve started doing the workout DVD’s titled Insanity.   Most days, at some point, I’m lying on the floor groaning with pain.  But I know that pain is going to yield good results.  I told her everything that is hard is usually worth doing because the pay off in the end will be worth it.  Even if the only thing it yields is the wisdom not to ever again, over commit.  And she nodded.

I promised her that whatever happened in the coming weeks would not end up defining her life.  That she was going to have a great life no matter what and that I didn’t expect her to do any more than her best and that was good enough for me.  I told her how great I thought she was and how her former band teacher who has a penchant for cool shoes, emailed me today asking if she could buy my daughter some cool $90 shoes for Prom.  Realizing they would be too high for the hem of her skirt I politely declines the offer.  But I told my daughter about it because it proved to her that she is really something special.  Teachers, don’t fork over a chunk of change to make a former student, and babysitter look hot for prom if they aren’t something very special.

With big alligator tears hanging off her cheeks, she looked up at me and said, “Thanks mom.”  I asked her if she was better now and did I do okay.

True to form, she said, “you started low got better in the middle and finished just ok, so you were a classic curve mom.”

I said, “Go to bed sweetie, I love you.”

Did I really just say a few nights ago that I almost wanted a do-over?

2 responses to “Crunch Time

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