Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That Mom

I am now that mom.

You know the one. She shows up at her son's wrestling practice and basically chews out everyone from the coach to the players. Well, not quite chews out, but it doesn't escape the entire team at Kirkwood High School that Joshua's mom is really mad!

I became that mom.

My son Joshua is a freshman. That should be enough said right there. He is also a little goofy, has the attention-span of a knat, and sometimes has science experiments growing under his bed. He is brilliant but scatter-brained, maybe an Einstein in the making. He forgets to turn in assignments or remembers at the last minute that he has a test tomorrow. His natural smarts let him make a B+ on his Geometry exam while I'm sitting here sweating bullets checking the online grade reports, assignments, and fielding emails from the teachers.

The other day I emailed all the wrestling coaches, one is his freshman counselor. I let them know in no uncertain terms that their 2.0 requirement for the athletes was not acceptable to me. Joshua had a 3.5 going into his freshman year and I'm bound and determined for him to not fall into the stereotypical dumb-jock mode. Their practices are six days a week from 3-5:45pm. That would be ok, for a normal household but with two little sisters, a dad with a demanding career, and a son that focuses long enough to sharpen a pencil, 2 hours of studying every night won't cut it.

I made Joshua skip practice yesterday because he had some assignments to finish. I dropped the kid off at the library at 3:15pm. I came back an hour later to find he had only finished a couple problems, I was ready to pull my hair out, well, maybe his hair. "Mom, can I eat?" He pleaded with me with woeful eyes. "Yes, when you are finished." I took his little sisters downstairs to the kid section and made him call everyone in his cell phone to finish a journalism project. We left the library at 7:15pm and he still had a couple sets of Geometry projects to finish.

Now my husband was at the St. Louis Symphony practicing for their upcoming Gospel Christmas. His Monday's have belonged to InUNISON for a few months now so I'm on my own with this homework war.

Joshua came home to raid the pantry with my commands to sit down whirling around his head. I already had dinner ready and just had to heat it up. We ate on paper plates for fast clean up. After his sisters were banished upstairs to take showers and play, Joshua was back at the books by 7:45pm.

My husband made it home after rehearsal around 10:00pm. Joshua was still doing homework. I was downstairs on the sofa with a voice that sounded like a frog and a growing heap of kleenex building by the sofa. My cold had little hammers beating me in the head and a frigid January chill happening in my body. This was a bad day for all this right before Thanksgiving.

"Joshua, aren't you finished yet?" "Mom, I just have one more worksheet to finish." I sighed, looked at the time on my cell phone, it was 11:00pm. "Just go to bed."

Sleep mercifully put me out of my misery until about 3:00am. Thank God for Lifetime Movie Network and the "Many, Many Mini Series" Marathon that is running this week. I had already watched the first of the five "Thorn Birds" and after a fresh cup of herbal tea, decided that sleep was futile. I closed my eyes momentarily and woke up to find both my daughters standing over me. It was 5:00am.

Oh well, I thought, I might as well get up. I started calling Joshua so he could finish his work. His English teacher graciously said she would type his major paper today if he came to school by 6:50am. This is the paper on The Odyssey that he hadn't finished even with the generous class time allotted. I think he was daydreaming. I called and called and he slept and slept. About 15 minutes later I decided to drag my body upstairs and wake him up.

It was at the moment that I was turning on his bedroom lights and pulling the covers off a slumbering teen that I silently thanked God for the example of Stanley Ann Dunham. President-Elect Barack Obama wrote about how his mom used to wake him up in the wee hours of the morning to do his school work. She feared the Indonesian school wasn't giving him everything he would need. To his complaints, that I'm sure sounded a lot like my son's moans, she said, "Hey, this isn't a picnic for me either buddy." I repeated that phrase to my son when he protested.

He finally got up at my insistence and flung his body downstairs to the dining table. I grabbed a quick shower and when I came down, he was tapping keys on that $125 calculator I bought for his class.

"Do you want some coffee?" I asked him as he was half frowning and half moaning. "No, I just want to go to sleep." "Too bad, you have to get finished."

I made myself my morning latte and talked to my youngest daughter who was still wide awake, now being entertained by cartoons.

Yes, I had become that mom.

The rest of the early morning was fairly uneventful. I answered emails for his Journalism teacher who assured me if he stopped by today, he could have until Monday to turn in the missing assignment. That was one thing I checked off the list while he packed up his bookbag and went upstairs to get dressed.

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bagel, chocolate soy milk with flax seed oil mixed in, I smiled that Joshua was ready. His dad came into the kitchen and asked, "so is wrestling still on?"

I looked between the hopeful eyes of father and son and wondered, what is it about sports that makes even grown men act like kids? I just smiled, sipped my chocolate soy latte, and said, "that depends on if everything actually gets turned in today and my email conversations with the teachers." They looked at each other as if telepathically sending a message to just do what the queen says. In turn, the each left the room to gather up their things to drive Joshua to school.

"Have a good day!" I cheerfully called out to him as I tossed his wrestling bag at him. It was 6:40am, still time for another latte. Yes, I was that mom.

1 comment:

  1. Cuzin, what a wonderful trip down memory lane...LOL! I, too, wrestled in HS (98-105-112# Soph-Sr yrs, 3x state finalist) for Indpls Cathedral HS ('83-'86). Those days have shaped my life today and allow me to maintain the condition and drive that carry me far past those grueling practices. Wrestling left little room for me to do anything, except homework ( smile), so keep doing your part in pushing grades. My GPA went up each season as wrestling and school were my only focus points. I'm quite sure he will thank in years to come for your push for excellence in academics as well as sports. I'm grateful for my parents and how they kept me in line in sports and academics. Cute story!


Thoughtful dialogue is appreciated.