I’m celebrating the end of another school year. This one was particularly difficult. If memory serves me correctly, this was the first year – ever – that my son had “Fs” on his report card. BUT – WE SURVIVED!! And my son told us (his grandparents & I) this past Tuesday evening that he PASSED 8th GRADE!! By the skin of his teeth. (What does that even mean – “skin of your teeth” – our teeth don’t have skin, so…Why…?) I confirmed this Wednesday with one of the 8th Grade secretaries.
I give honor where honor is due – to God and His angels, my mother and myself, the school staff who came in contact with my son and prodded him. Not only for helping my very unwilling child to succeed in his last year of Middle School, but for helping me hold onto the last shreds of my sanity whilst refraining from committing great bodily harm to my oppositional-defiant-disordered offspring. And I guess my kiddo himself deserves SOME of the recognition…
Hopefully, over the summer, I’ll find more sanity somewhere and be able to store up (er…hoard) reserves. Because now we come to the next phase: HIGH SCHOOL. (I should check in the mirror for new gray hairs, because I’m sure they’re there…in my hair…not in the mirror, mirrors don’t have gray hair.)
Yes, folks, I am now the parent of a newly-minted, incoming High School Freshman…that phrase gives me hives for some reason… My mother asked me Wednesday morning – when I dropped my son off at her house for his LAST DAY of Middle School (I decided we all deserved to skip the last day of school, which was really only a half-day anyway) – how it feels to be the parent of a High School Freshman (I guess she’s forgotten, since it’s been about 16 years since one of hers was a HS Freshman). This prompted a short monologue of the things I would do differently if I’d “known then what I know now.”
I wouldn’t have skipped having children. (…I DID consider that for a moment…but the experience “helped” to make me the wonderful, sarcastic person I am today…) Instead, I would’ve tried to understand more about mental health issues 15 years ago, when I was married to my son’s male parent, since his issues are what woke me to the problem in the first place. (By then I’d learned to “cope” with my own “emotional issues” and they weren’t as much of an “issue” as my ex-husband’s GAD and paranoia became.) I think I would’ve also moved back to Florida a year or two earlier, so my son and parents would’ve had the benefit of each others’ presence sooner – we didn’t move back to South Florida until my son was 3. But, until we discover time travel, that’s the stuff of fantasies.
Anyhow. We resorted to bribery the last two weeks – well, my mother did – to be sure he didn’t “get sick” and need to come home early (my boyo “suffers” from frequent headaches, stomach aches, and what have you…some of this CAN be attributed to his Asperger’s/ADHD, etc, but once a week or more is quite out of control. Every day he stayed in school the ENTIRE DAY, he earned $5 towards an iTunes gift card, and on the day he had to get his own breakfast & off to school WITH NO PROMPTING, he earned $15 (I threw in an extra $5 that day). I’m not ashamed to admit it. Bribing your kids to finish the school year WORKS! I only wish we’d done this for the entire school year! On the other hand…he managed to earn $50 in two weeks. Mom & I would’ve been more broke than we are now if we’d done this all school year!
So, on Hayden’s last day of school – Wednesday – my mother called me at about 2:30 that afternoon, asking if he’d called me from school. I said he hadn’t and so she told me she was on her way to pick him up, because apparently in Reading he picked up a soda bottle that one of his friends had been drinking from, and finished the contents. The teacher saw and told him that she’d put cleaning solution inside the bottle. Hayden immediately hurled several times, attempting to get all the “poison” out of his system. He then called his grandmother from the school’s phone & asked her to pick him up because he was concerned for his safety. (Okay, yes, I rolled my eyes, too). My mother asked me to call the school and check up on the incident, to see if we need to take him to the ER or some such. I spoke with one of the secretaries who said she hadn’t seen Hayden in the nurse’s office (Clue #1), that she would call the teacher, because now she wants to know what’s going on.
I reminded the secretary that this is HAYDEN we’re speaking of, assuring her that he didn’t hear the “could be” part of the teacher’s statement…only the “cleaning solution or poison.” We both laughed in relief and I told her his grandmother would be there soon to pick him up. Called back my mother and told her the story. I added, “I guess it wouldn’t be Hayden if we’d finished Middle School without any drama.”