Okay, I’m allowing myself one platitude. We’re better off than most parents of teens.
And, we are better off because we maintain such diligence.
It ended yesterday in a rage at work. Not that I screamed at anyone and not that anyone noticed, but I balled up my fist and smacked myself in the flat of my other hand three times, which someone likely heard. And anyone that walked by could not have missed my bald red head, undoubtedly glowing like a beacon and surpassing the bright florescent lights. Oh, and the people that were copied on the email. The guy that made me so angry, his boss, and her boss. Bad form to copy someone’s bosses boss, eh? Yep, it is. I’ve gone back and read it. No bad language, no outright sarcasm. Just a very bold and demanding request to fix a process that I haven’t been able to get anything done about for two years along with a really good suggestion for how to do that. Tone’s not too bad. It’s what I was feeling when I wrote it, most of which I did not convey in the final draft, that leaves me feeling regret. I didn’t even call the process stupid. But, just that loss of control, after so many years of working to keep my anger in check, led to a very restless night. If regret could change the facts, they would already be different. Given that my only choices are to live up to the mistake or to commit hari-kari, I’ve surrendered to a likely “talking to” on Tuesday. Not the first. Probably not the last. I am an emotional over-achiever.
And, please, this is not the time to tell me to let things roll off my back. This blog isn’t about someone that can do that. It’s about someone that can’t let it roll off his back, has to deal with what he feels, and about what he does next.
On Tuesday, the purple tank top got worn to school, with the white sweater over it. I found out that, despite the promise to wear the white sweater all day, it didn’t happen. Still torn between taking the tank, or taking the scissors to the tank. I’d gladly waste $5 on that lesson.
Wednesday, we got feedback about inappropriate physical rough housing with the boys at school. She is a draft horse that thinks of herself as a teacup poodle and she does not realize how physically intimidating her size is and she doesn’t know her own strength. She lacks the ability to moderate her behavior. She’s even gotten too rough with me in play, without the ability to see that as the mistake it truly is, bearing the consequences it always does.
She’s been texting a boy from school. A couple of boys, in fact. Wasn’t too worried about that. Except I found out last night that one is 18. Rob heard the shouted “but I didn’t KNOW he was 18” that was my response to “you knew I’d been texting him” and after she’d stormed off to bed and I’d retired to our room, Rob asked “who’s 18?” I was afraid that vein on the side of his head was going to burst when he found out.
And, then, after we’d taken the phone for the night, another boy sent a highly inappropriate text…okay, that’s enough dirty laundry, but really, too many bad choices for one week and two parents that thought they were doing the right thing by extending the privileges that we thought she should be extended as a freshman in high school.
Today, the phone is in lockdown. Can only send and receive to me, Rob, the next door neighbors and my best friend; all her emergency contacts. And, that’s it.
The privilege of extra chores will be extended.
I know that my reaction at work yesterday was an extension of all the feelings I’d been holding in at home. The lack of control I feel. The betrayal I feel. I fought for some of those privileges she got, promising that I’d be vigilant as my half of a compromise.
Nothing is a mistake. Everything serves a purpose. My release of anger, not aimed at her, because that would be less helpful than stirring up a hornet’s nest at work, itself not very helpful. Her loss of privileges. Yesterday’s recognition that I have to be extra careful about how I express my anger and where.
It’s actually probably a good thing that this happened in the first week of school. Now, we can get down to the serious business of ruining her life.
Like I said before, it’s what we do next that really counts.
Be well and know that you aren’t alone. I have you to share with and you have me.
Parenting is damned hard.
Not living up to my expectations of myself is damned hard.