Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tough Love is Hard


None of my friends are answering their phones, so I turn to my blog hoping to assuage my guilt, my mother guilt.
This morning, as most mornings, quite a bit of complaining and yelling happens at my house as we get ready to go out the door. And that's just me. I used to say that the best part about homeschooling was not having to be anywhere first thing in the morning. I still believe that's true.
So, we're almost at the end of the year and this issue has been building up for awhile. Spencer stays up late working on homework or watching the NBA playoffs and he is difficult to wake up. He usually needs a couple of wake up calls. Sometimes I'll wake him up, go feed the cats, come back again. He always says, "Just a sec."
And my response frequently is, "we don't have a sec."
When he's being especially manipulative, he'll say "Why don't you lie down here with me just for a minute?" I know, at 15, he isn't that interested in snuggling with his mom. He just wants more sleep.
This morning I was still yelling to his room at 7:15. "Spencer, are you up?" I'd get a moan. Finally, I watched until he trudged from his room to the bathroom. Much nudging and yelling followed as I tried to get him to move along. I warned Grace that we might be leaving late at the rate things were going. I promised her we'd leave at 7:50. The first bell rings at 7:55 and the late bell is 8.
And, for those of you who know that we live seven-tenths of a mile from school, Grace is still in a walking boot because of the tendonitis in her ankle. So I told the boys we were leaving at 7:50. I gave warnings at 4 minutes and 2 minutes. Spencer was spreading butter on his second English muffin when I picked up my purse and walked out the door. The other kids were already in the car.
As I put the car in reverse and pulled out of the garage, I expected to see Spencer with his backpack dangling from an arm come running through the back door. I watched the garage door close and paused in the alley, looking at the door. Nothing.
I drove to school, dropping Tucker at the middle school. Next Grace clomped off into the doors of the high school.
Should I go back and get him? No. I should let him ride his bike to school and be tardy. I forced myself to go get a coffee at Caribou Coffee. Then I became worried that Spence might be clueless enough not to notice we were gone and just hang out at home, wondering why no one was leaving for school. I called home and woke up my husband. He called out a few times. Noted that Spencer's lunch was still on the counter and said he must be gone.
As I left Caribou, I drove down the main street and saw Spencer there walking at 8:05.He leaned slightly forward with the weight of his heavy backpack. He was nearly to school.
I raised a hand. He saw me and returned the raised hand. Not a waving hand, just an acknowledgement.
Maybe he'll get a lunch detention for being late to school, or maybe he hasn't been tardy this quarter and he'll breeze through the rest of the school year without another tardy. I'm sure he has put it behind him as he nears second period.
I still feel a gnawing of guilt.

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