I was always the shy, quiet girl who went out of my way to avoid drawing attention to myself in school. I was bewildered by the class clown type, even when I secretly found their antics hysterical, because that personality was so very different from my own. I just could not fathom possessing that kind of carefree gumption.
And really, I am still that way. I go out of my way to avoid uncomfortable situations and confrontations. I recently read an article in which someone referred to herself as "conversationally challenged" and the words leapt off the page at me. Because that? Is so me.
Conversationally challenged is exactly what I am. I stumble over my words, if I can find them at all, and end up walking away or hanging up the phone shaking my head and feeling completely frustrated because I know I did not say what I felt, thought and intended to say.
And I had one of those moments this afternoon when I got a call from a teacher (the third time I have heard from this teacher this year) informing me, yet again, that my son is still being unruly and disruptive in her class. That she finds it disrespectful. And that she wants it to stop.
It felt like an attack on me and my parenting skills and I wanted to shout, "You and me both, girlfriend! You and me, both!" But of course I didn't. Instead I asked her what exactly he was doing to which she replied "just constantly giggling, cutting up and talking amongst his friends." I apologized three times and told her we had talked and talked to him about this and thought we had the problem solved and that we will deal with it.
Then I hung up the phone, threw a few four letter words around and sent Charlie a message pretty much stating that I was at my wit's end and did not know what else to do aside from going to the darn (only this wasn't the exact adjective I used) school and sitting right beside him in that class every day. And we agreed to crack down harder. Take away ALL the privileges this time!
I have to say that above all the challenges parenting has brought me thus far (even the constant bickering between them and the endless lobbying to wear shorts in the dead of winter) THIS is the hardest.
The direct reflection I feel that my children are of myself.
Although they are each their own persons with their own wills and personalities, I feel personally responsible for each and every move they make and action they take even when I am not with them. Especially when I am not with them.
And although I am a little ashamed to admit this, the bottom line is that when they act bad...I look bad. Or at least it feels that way. And who likes to look bad? Not me!
I did not expect to feel this way before I became a parent. Nobody wrote that down as advice at my baby shower, not a one of those "what to expect" parenting books devoted a chapter to it and my mother didn't warn me about it.
I expected the sleepless nights, the messes, the occasional defiance, and even the worry. But the one challenge I never saw coming was this one...The unsuspecting way I could be right in the middle of an otherwise perfectly fine day and have someone jerk a knot in my tail, pee in my corn flakes, or eat my bowl of sunshine all up with one little phone call, note or email informing me that my kid...mine...was being anything less than perfect.
And the fact that the quietest of quiet girls in the class grew up to be the mother of the class clown is just further proof that God? Has a wicked sense of humor!
**This post inspired by Mama Kat's writing prompt, "Your biggest parenting challenge and/or joy" and Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday's Letter C.