I’d just sat down to build my 105 floor on Tiny Tower, which I’d planned to name a jaunty “Cyber Sex,” when my kids got home from their grandmother’s. A couple of times a week, they visit my mom’s house, where they happily can eat cereal from plates and annoy my parents with their incessant chattering while I sit at home in my underwear, playing Tiny Tower and watching videos of dancing snails.

My eldest son burst into the house, a whirlwind of knees and elbows, and clomped out to the family room, where I was sitting on my iPad playing a pixelated game and pretending that I wasn’t as lame as, well, I am.

(shut UP)

“MOM,” he yelled. “WE HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL NOW.”

Um. I’m not wearing pants.

“Why?” I asked, cautiously. There’s something in that child that turns every minor request into an earth-shattering conquest – like we were going to have to climb a mountain, drink our own urine to stay warm, and nosh upon whomever was not up to the challenge in order to get to his elementary school.

“IT’S MY SOLO TONIGHT!” he nearly took my face off with his screams.

Aunt Becky say wha??

That was the first I’d heard of a “solo” a “concert” or a “trip to school after hours.” I try to be up-to-date on all things kids-related, but this child, well, he’s as organized as a, well, okay, he’s not very organized. We’re working on it.

(and by “working on it,” I mean that when he hands me a stack of ancient papers for events we’ve already missed, by hair falls out)

The kid was SOL – Alex has an ear infection, Dave’s out of town, and I, well, I’ve had a migraine that makes me wish I could plunk out my eyeballs with a spoon just to stop them from quivering unpleasantly. The Guy On My Couch was going to have to take over for me for the night – I couldn’t send him to school with the kid, much as I wanted to.

“Sorry, kiddo, but we’re going to have to skip it,” I replied, and before I could continue to explain myself – inserting neatly an object lesson in telling people what you need them to do BEFORE you demand that they drop everything and do it for you – he began to scream.

“BUT MOM, THEY’RE COUNTING ON ME!” The teeth gnashing had begun.

“Ben,” I replied. “We have 14 minutes to get you dressed and ready to leave the house. Do you even know where this concert is?”

“NO,” he said, again yelling my face off. “BUT I GOTTA BE THERE, MOM. I GOTTA.”

The maternal guilt began flowing freely, dripping from both my eyes and ears. I knew it was a lesson he had to learn – had I been given a couple hours to plan, I’d have been able to find someone to take the kid, but with 14 minutes to go? I was fucked.

And OMFWTFBBQ the guilt.

Even now, well after the fact, I’m stewing in a nice puddle of maternal guilt. I WANTED the kid to get there – I wanted to SEE him play his solo. A GOOD mother would’ve made sure her kid got there and I couldn’t do it, therefore, I was clearly NOT a good mother.

To make a long, drawn out, histrionic conversation short, we didn’t go. When I stop feeling like shit about this, I’ll let you know.

I sent his teacher an email, explaining that I was very sorry, that we were all sick, and no one was around to help with Ben’s siblings. The guilt oozed from my fingertips as I wrote it.

After I hit send (carefully removing links to my blog from the bottom of my email signature), the guilt flooded me. I had to watch some Prison Break just to remind myself that I’m not THAT much of a failure. In hindsight, I should’ve watched Jersey Shore –  Michael Scofield would’ve made an elaborate plan including both tattoos, the sun’s gravitational pull, and a single red Twizzler to make sure the kid made his solo WITHOUT being taken out by The Company.

This morning, I awoke to check my email to find she’d written me back, wishing to talk about my son’s future in music with me.

When I stop panicking, I’ll let you know.

I’m a grown-ass woman, and I’m STILL afraid to talk to a teacher about my son’s organizational problems.

If you need me, I’ll be under the bed, sneezing up cat hair and looking for my missing whore pants.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

24 Responses to Aunt Becky Meets Her Match

  • BakingSuit
    Twitter: bakingsuit
    says:

    I’m thinking that this teaching moment and lesson he (hopefully) has learned was worth more in the long run than the solo. You’ve prob already thought of it, but would a day planner help Ben and make it part of his “responsibility” or “chores” to make sure stuff gets in it?

    HUGS. You’re not a shitty mother. It’ll be ok.

  • Frubs says:

    I used to do this on a much smaller scale to my dad. When friday afternoon came all thoughts of school went ZIP out of my mind…until sunday evening, when I HAD to have something for school the next day.

    It wasn’t his fault; I *had* neglected to tell him I needed xyz for school in time. But even when you should be well beyond the age (I dunno what that age is. 8?) to expect adults to magically pull something out of their ass for you, you still kind of do. It’s kind of like, ya, I fucked up, BUT YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS FOR ME! NAAOOOO!

    (I am a bit better organised nowadays, but only marginally and with the help of boyfriend prompting and google calendar)

    Anyway. There wasn’t anything you could’ve done under the circumstances. If he’d told you in advance you could have had something in place, but as it was…

    You’re only human, sorry. :/ Hope the guilt subsides and the meeting with the teacher goes OK.

  • baseballmom says:

    here’s my feeling on meetings with teachers (and i work with them all day). they are there to give suggestions, and their opinions on your child’s schooling. at the end of the day, you’re still his mom. the music teacher has NO SAY in whether YOU decide to pursue music with your son. NONE. some like to think that their opinion is the ‘be all, end all’ of everything, but guess what? she is not a professional scout, and she can’t say whether your kid will go far in music or not. keep that in mind!

  • Betts says:

    Hey, it’s easier to drop and run when you’ve got one kid, like me, but you were blessed with more than that. Part of being a family, which your son is, is to take other family members into consideration which he didn’t do by letting you know 14 minutes prior to his solo that he had one. I understand your guilt, and OMG, I would be under the bed with you if I’d been through that, but your not a bad mother and he had a lesson to learn. And maybe his teacher wants to talk to you about how talented he is. But don’t be afraid to bring up your son’s short comings. No doubt, she’s already noticed them anyway, and me she can help you help him be more organized.

  • No Good says:

    Parents are BRAVE. You are (specifically) awesome. This sucks but maybe, over time, he’ll learn planning? Anyway, not your fault. You are a SUPERHERO.

  • God. Teaching them shit like this SUCKS. I mean, who the hell wants to be the bad guy??
    But.
    Doesn’t make a shitty mom.

  • Maria says:

    Listen here:

    Not. Your. Fault.

    Hear that? A bit of truth for you. Man, I understand the guilt. Us mums always want to give our kids all the attention and help, and support, and… well you know, just as much as I do.

    But this?

    Not. Your. Fault.

    If you had *known* about the solo just an hour earlier, you would have made it. But 14 minutes from Migraine to Gig – no can do, man.

    Not. Your. Fault.

    Maybe you can have his teacher email you the information, at the same time as she gives him the papers to bring home. That way, you A, get the information and 9 can ask him on arrival home, if there is anything he has to share with you from school.

    Sorry, long post. Just remember one thing:

    Not. Your. Fault.

    Love.

  • Gwen says:

    I’m runner up for parental FAIL. Rymer sorta mentioned that parents have to write a bio for some assignment (I swear, this teacher must be recruiting for the CIA, last assignment requiring my involvement wanted to know height, weight and achievements from birth-13) I got so involved in reading about the Mormon’s magical underwear that I forgot all about it. Not to mention, I wanted to write something like “Rymer was dropped from the sky at birth by the Nyan Cat in a basket made of glitter and rainbows, hand stitched by unicorns” and Rymer said that his teacher would Not.Be.Amused.
    It was due Tuesday, I just emailed it 15 minutes ago.

  • Jenn says:

    You are not alone! Riley is the SAME way. I have taken it upon myself to talk to his teacher at least once a week to make sure I know what’s going on. If I don’t, it’s the same story… “Mom, [something something] NOW!” We missed a “winter holiday” concert last December because I (quite literally) never got the memo. In today’s world, pretty much all teachers and parents have internet access, so I always wonder why we aren’t kept apprised of school happenings via email anyway.

    So, I can understand the guilt (I would feel guilty too, and I have, in similar situations), but I am going to tell you that you shouldn’t feel guilty anyway. That helps. Right?

    Parenting just sucks ass sometimes. xoxo

  • MKP says:

    *hugs*

    Maybe the teacher wants to talk to you about something good though! Future in music isn’t something people just toss around!

    It is a hard lesson, but it is HIS lesson. You did the right thing by emailing the teacher, and in the future you can ask the teacher to email you directly about school related concerts and events.

    *hugs some more*

  • Grace says:

    What everyone else said. Try not to beat yourself up about it. This wasn’t your fault, and sadly he needed to learn that he has to let you know this stuff earlier so you can plan for it. And I REALLY wish I could make those stinky migraines leave you alone.

  • Amelia says:

    BLARG!! I’m so sorry!! At least you’re still hella funny!

  • Caroline says:

    As your son’s potential 8th grade teacher, I THANK you. I am so. sick. unto. death of kids who don’t plan, don’t take responsibility, don’t think that there’s anything wrong with asking for extensions on the day of the deadline, having Mom bring their paper by the end of the day, or expecting endless opportunities to do stuff late because it might bring their grades down and they “forgot”. I have told my own kid that if she forgets to bring her permission note for her playdate tomorrow, I am *not* calling the school and excusing her to her friend’s house. I write her the necessary notes, she leaves them on the table, I get a call. NO MORE.

  • JenniferB says:

    Wow, that was a rude comment Candace. What was the intended purpose of that little rant? If you don’t like the blog, go away. Anyways…. I agree wholeheartedly with Caroline. As a teacher and a parent, I am really tired of parents teaching their kids NOT to take any responsibility for their actions. I will not be running home to rescue my kids from their forgetfulness. I am glad you stayed home. I know you feel bad, but if parents don’t allow their children any consequences, how do we expect the kids to grow into real functioning adults? It doesn’t happen by magic.

  • Heather says:

    I also have an 11yo organizationally challenged daughter and I agree this was a good lesson for him. My daughter has gotten used to consequences for her need to work on her organization and I think she’s starting to get better. She’s not as good as this 41yo that used to be org challenged too, but maybe someday….

  • Katy says:

    Don’t sweat it. Really. Every musician has missed a gig / forgotten a gig / forgotten to call someone back about a gig / been late to a gig / gotten the wrong time or place for a gig, etc, etc, etc, etc. I GUARANTEE you this includes his orchestra teacher (if she is a good enough player to be gigging.) It is the absolute WORST feeling in the world. Ben just got it out of the way early, that’s all. Hopefully it made enough of an impression that he will be more organized next time.

    It is her job to be the heavy and make this a Very Serious Thing. Don’t sweat it.

  • Katy says:

    Also, if he is playing solos at an orchestra concert, I think there is very little chance that the teacher is going to even suggest that he quit. Kids who play well make the teacher look good. With arts programs a dying breed in this country, she would be foolish to discourage a talented student. My guess is that she wants you to realize how great he is so that you take his orchestra commitments Very Seriously.

  • QuietBianca says:

    I’ve never commented here before, but I wanted to say NOT YOUR FAULT. 14 minutes? And you didn’t know where it even WAS? Case closed. The rest (sick kid and such) is just icing on the not-your-fault cake.
    If the teacher begins a conversation on his commitment or anything like that, just pop in with, “Yes, I’m very concerned as well. We need to work on communication and his responsibility. Maybe you can write in a planner for him? Or email me directly?” Whatever you do, don’t let her make it your fault. *huggles*

  • Valerie says:

    You should probably go in there and be all “Alien abduction.” Then when you get to the part about the analog probes, the teacher wont even remember what you were talking about.

    Take that opportunity to throw one of those Ninja Poof Pellets down and disappear into thin air.

    Luck!

    Valerie

  • Cindy DuBois says:

    As a retired school teacher, I agree with the statements about parents turning back flips to make their kids happy has got to go. I applaud parents who say, Better luck next time. I don’t know anything about the schools in Chicago but even in backwards Texas most schools have an on-line site where teachers post homework and a school calendar is kept. See if your school or district has something like that. In San Antonio, the web has to be so current that the teacher is forced to have all papers graded and posted within 36 hours of the assignment.

    I wish I could sprinkle some magic fairy dust and cause all teacher/parent meetings to be positive uplifting things for both parties. My hope is that the orchestra teacher wants to encourage Ben in his music studies. I’m gonna put the teacher mind meld on her and make sure she treats you very good. If she’s gonna gig you about him being unorganized ask her to take on the responsibility of emailing you every day with a list of Ben’s responsibilities. That will shut her up big time.

  • Caroline says:

    It sucks but that is a lesson he’s got to learn. It’s by burning your fingers that you learn the stove is hot (5 years old). It’s by getting bitten that you learn you shouldn’t touch the dog that you were told didn’t like kids….even if you’re father tells you it’s all right (it’s also by doing that that you learn you should never take what you father says too seriously) (10 years old) and it’s by opening up your knees to the bone when you fall down on the ground on roller blades that you learn that you should have listened to your mom when she told you “you should put your knee pads on honey” (17 years old).

    I’m 25 now and I have leraned my lessons the hard way…..like everybody. If you feed your kids on a daily basis, provide a safe environment at home, send them to school and spend quality time with them as often as you can……in my book that makes you a great mom. Your jobs is to prepare them for life without you…….I think you’re son will remember that now.

  • Wow.
    If the teacher tries to give you any shit about his missing it suggest she actually contact the parents directly for any future programs that the children are in. Seriously, kids are all sort of scatterbrained. I too did this and I was not autistic I just had the attention span of a squirrel on crack. Also not ADD or ADHD or any other thing, I was just a forgetful twit, pretty normal for a small human.

  • StrongerMe says:

    I. Love. You. It looks like I will be spending my rockin Friday night reading your blog, and I laughed so hard at this post, I think that’s pretty awesome.
    Your son reminds me very much of my oldest son – very unprepared for things that are suddenly dramatically important. Yo. Drama King, dial it down a bit. I heard you the first seven shreeks!

  • Meredith P. says:

    You are not a shitty mother so stop feeling guilty ASAP.

    You are one of millions of mothers who has an unorganized child, that’s all. Hopefully this incident will help encourage him to be better organized in the future :).

    Plus he was sick, you did the right thing in keeping him home and that teacher better not give you any crap for doing so.

    You did the right thing and you are an awesome mom! *hugs*

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