Saturday, January 20, 2007

What's Unique about Me

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you want your prayers to be answered, cast a wide net! Pray to every god and goddess you can think of. One of them's bound to be waiting by the celestial telephone to take your call.

Most of us yearn to be unique in some way. And with 400 million people just in this country alone, it's a doggoned challenging proposition.

Fortunately for me, I can make claim to an unparalleled level of uniqueness.

Oh sure, there are scores and scores of people who spend hours sitting under pine trees staring up at turkey vultures. Gosh, we talk about it every day in the lunchroom at the school where I work. You know, trading good roost sites and describing a particularly fetching buzzard, or remembering buzzard-watching of days past. Old hat. So commonplace.

But me, ah! I stand alone.

I have an unruly twelve-year-old.

My daughter The Spare, age 12, is beautiful and a talented actress. She had the lead in her school play back in November. But -- I know this will surprise and mystify all of you -- she doesn't give a fig for her schoolwork. Her grades have tanked. She lies about being prepared for tests, she lies about having her homework finished, she gives up when the going gets tough -- and of course she tries to sneak all of this past myself and Mr. Johnson.

Friday she was supposed to attend an after-school study group on science, for a test on Monday. But Friday night was also the date of the Middle School's only semi-formal dance -- an event she had been slobbering over in anticipation for weeks. She had a dress all ready (custom altered by her grandma), a cute bolero jacket, shoes, and about 50 ideas on hair dressing.

At the prompting of her friends, she blew the science study and went out for pizza.

Mr. Johnson and I had no choice but to forbid her to go to the dance. We stood like a united front as she:
1. Wept loudly.
2. Pitched a fit and threw things around.
3. Abused the teddy bear that belonged to her late grandfather.
4. Hurled insults at me (I wish I could remember the ones that made me laugh, but alas, the only ones I can remember are the ones that made me want to cry.)
5. Bemoaned her stupidity and predicted a future of worse failure.
6. Spent the rest of the evening crying.

I'm sure those of you reading this simply cannot imagine such a one-of-a-kind scenario. Yes, you completely understand my collection of vulture feathers and my willingness to sit through a two-hour planning meeting for the East Coast Vulture Festival, but you must be entirely baffled by this extraordinary young teenager.

Yeah, I'm well nigh stumped too.



Tennessee Jed said...

Dag yo, that don't sound like the three female teens around my house or any of their many friends who come around either. You and Mr. Johnson must be doing something wrong!

If you believe any of the past paragraph I have some dust I collected from a crushed rock in the driveway that came from Pluto before they kicked it out of the solar system I will sell you for just under a million dollars U.S.

JaAnBe said...

I had one of those, male version. Pretty much retained the "I hate school" attitude through several hard, low paying jobs. He just turned 25 and will be going to college in the summer.

Hecate said...

When Son was 13, he was not very nice to live with. But once he turned 14, he was fine. Maybe for girls, it's 12. You did the right thing. I used to tell Son that he didn't have to like me. I just had to be able to get up in the morning and look myself in the mirror knowing I'd done the best I could. Today, he's 34, a gifted lawyer, a wonderful dad, and a dear Son. So I guess that I'm saying, just hang in there. It will get better.

Hayden said...

The thought that there was any possibility you might have missed this article seemed impossible to live with. So, I bring to you news of the revival of the worship of Zeus and his pals. They even have two warring groups; give them a chance and they'll accumulate as many schisms as christianity. It's the way we do things in this modern world.

Athana said...

Anne, I hate the thought of you having to go through the trying trials of motherhood! It’d be so easy to hang it all up and do the thing that allowed the Spare to sing your praises (for the moment at least). I’m glad you have Mr. Johnson on your side to stand united against the Spare’s teenage persona (the persona that threatens to wreck the rest of the Spare’s life). Bless you for expending tremendous energy on shaping the next generation of adults!

buddydon said...

grate tale with the rangin in the ears of truth. thays a 26 year old down in tennessee that woodnt do nuthin at skool but make fun of everthang. i wood try to set im rite n ground im ('dad, couldnt ya just spank me?') n ye kin name it, i tride it. mostly i tole im thangs i figgers he orta know n then cawt myself n pallgized fer leckshurin im.

once he wuz out on his own n wurkin at a job he hated, he gut to whar he wood quote me back. he tole me once how he had dun herd everthang i sed but dint wonta bleeve it.

now hes trine to go thru skool while wurkin at fedex. he called me up las week to tell me he wuz seryas on a counta he dint wonta spend his life carryin others folkses boxes.

so whut ye dun wuz the rite thang in my book. i wisht i coulda dun better, but seems lack ever parnt i ever met has that same wish.

BBC said...

The Spare


Ah, kids, and peer pressure. But you did right, tough love is good. Keep after her until she gets it that play is a reward that comes after the responsibility and good work.

Hang in there, parenting is not easy, hugs.