Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Off in the Wasteland

Having not heard anything to the contrary, I assume my husband is winging his way home today. His travel schedule shows him arriving late tonight. Probably won't get to the house until close to midnight. Tomorrow morning we'll be bleary eyed around here.

When I was eight months pregnant with our son, hubby and I decided it would be fun to travel the Natchez Trail in our automobile. We were driving from our home in Lafayette, LA to hubby's childhood town of Bloomington, Indiana to visit his mother and some of our old friends. It would be our last chance to travel before we became parents.

It was July, 1989 and our automobile did not have air-conditioning. We began the journey along the Natchez Trail in Mississippi and took it as far as it would go. It was very interesting and I can say I have seen a lifetime's worth of Indian mounds. We stopped at almost every place with a marker or historical reference.

But it was hot. It was so hot. When we stopped for the night all I could do was rush from the car into the hotel and take off my clothes and stand in front of the air conditioner. I am a child of the Deep South, but that was a whole new level of hot.

The month before I had celebrated my 34th birthday. I was old enough to know better. Some days I still think of that trip and that level of discomfort. Today was one of those days. Funny how out of nowhere something will pop into your mind and distract you.

Today, as the mother of a now 16 year old child, I am struggling to remain sane. To say that this school year has been difficult is an understatement. I mentioned it to a friend after she asked how son was doing and she said he is going through this a year early. Like it is all normal. He's a little ahead of schedule but he's always been a bit precocious.

Why didn't someone tell me we would go through this patch? How was I to know that he would become unmotivated and surly about going to school and making good grades for future college admission? Last year he had perfect attendance. This year he has an upset stomach, or his head hurts, or he has an emotional breakdown. It's hard to keep up.

He's a very intellegent human being. He has always been a good student and yet never felt the need to do his very best. It's like he doesn't want to shine his brightest. He has tested gifted since the age of 3. That was the year his Montessori teacher taught him to read, too. I didn't tell him about testing results as he was growing up as I didn't want him to think he was any different than others or special in that way. We didn't make a big deal out of it and he thrived in school.

We kept him in private schools until high school. Most kids in private school are bright and achievers by nature. And only children are not unusual. My son never had to study much to make grades he was happy with, which is unfortunate now that he is older and needs that skill. He is in pre-AP and one AP course this year which require effort. He needs the challenge, though, so he is learning how to handle it all.

He is talking with a therapist he likes. I am hoping it'll help him figure things out. I remember teenage angst and the hormonal surges. I've just never dealt with it on this end before. Not to mention I am peri-menopausal with hormone surges of my own! My poor husband.

I know one day we will look back and laugh. Just not today.

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us." - Ashley Montagu

1 comment:

srp said...

I had Nyssa when I was 33. Someone should have told me she would go through the angst of adolesence at the same time I was doing menopause. And with just the two of us in the house..... OH! MY! There were days! It happens. Fortunately, we both survived.