I really try to keep things positive here, not in a fake way, but because who wants to read all about somebody’s problems? At almost any time in life, you can find something to complain about, but having had a person in my life who focuses relentlessly on the negatives, I’ve seen firsthand how off-putting that is to others and how spirit-draining it is to oneself. That’s not how I choose to live my life.
That said, I’m having a hard time this week. One of my boys has always struggled in school, not because of ability, but because of organization and motivation. In-class assignments and tests are typically A’s and B’s; homework assignments are frequently zeroes. It doesn’t average out to a pretty grade. He’s in high school, and while I haven’t been as active in seeking help from his teachers (because how do you fix smart kid/doesn’t try?) as I clearly needed to be, I have had zero communication originate from any teacher (except his coach) or administrator through four years of this until a couple weeks ago when his guidance counselor called to inform me he might not be able to graduate.
He actually finally got the message and had managed to start turning in homework and pull up most of the grades, with the exception of one class where they have almost no assignments. I stopped feeling nauseous every time I checked his grades online. And then yesterday, through a clusterf*ck of computerized grading issues (reading empty scores for assignments not yet due as zeroes, grades possibly not all entered) and dumb mistakes if you believe that (leaving a huge assignment in another class by mistake), he somehow had three F’s, rendering him ineligible for volleyball even by the IHSA’s ridiculously lax standards and once again facing the possibility of not being able to graduate.
Most of it has been resolved today, but his hold on the cap and gown is tenuous at best. It’s hard to watch your child try to dig themselves out of a deep hole of their own making. It’s hard to know what to do, to know that you should have handled things very differently as a parent, and to feel a large helping of blame. It’s hard to drive home with your sunglasses all fogged up from crying, and it’s hard to sit in your evening class attempting to pull yourself together while your professor thankfully ignores your sniffling and tears.
It was very nice, though, to have so many friends express concern, check in on me, or send virtual hugs last night when I vaguebooked a sad face as my status because I didn’t want to spread my child’s business all over the internet to people who know him. (I know, I know…still deciding if this’ll post on my Facebook page like my blog usually does or if only my regular readers will get to see it.)
And though last night’s class was pretty much the last place I wanted to be, as we spent the first 20 or so minutes talking about how former students of three of my classmates passed away over Easter break (not a good conversation for “someone” who’s already emotionally unstable)…and a teammate and his wife prepare for the race that memorializes their baby daughter…and as a former student begins to undergo some major chemo/radiation for a tumor…I’m reminded to count my blessings.
If our worst-case scenario is not graduating on time, that’s bad, but it’s not life or death. My kids are healthy, they’re relatively happy, and I can deal with the rest.
I’ve got a roof over my head,
Someone to love me in a four poster bed,
And I can play this here guitar run and ride real far,
So I thank my lucky stars.
–Jimmy Buffet’s “Lucky Stars” (slightly paraphrased)