Monday, November 19, 2012

Laying It Down

Lately the kids have been testing the waters.

Of my good graces and self-control, evidently.

One tween begets another, even if the other is not yet a tween.

Attitudes and talkback and eye-rolling are contagious.  Mother definitely doesn’t know best, and every utterance elicits a strong negative reaction: violent opposition, downright defiance, even tears.  I run a prison here.  They are serving 18-year sentences.

Schoolwork, while important, can be done at any time.  Any time that is not Mom’s preference, that is.  Bedrooms are not messy, even though you can’t see the floor for the clothing, and every surface is covered with junk.  Reading and instrument practice has already been finished, although books are not to be found and the air is void of music.  Only one hour of the two-hour computer allowance has been used, even though the computer has been on since seven-thirty a.m.  Promises have been kept; friends are waiting for their playmates.

It is enough to make the most patient of parents close her eyes and pray for deliverance from aggravation as well as the temptation to respond with her own tears and denial that things really aren’t so bad and that this behavior can be let go.

But it cannot be let go.  Responsibility needs to be learned.

A calm demeanor and firm, choice words are required if behaviors are to be changed and lessons taught.  Swaying from the rules or allowing negotiations are not advisable actions.

But it happens.

Humanity takes control and weariness sets in.  Negotiations are tolerated and other, future promises are made.  The homework will be done.  I will.  I know.  I am.  After.

I close my eyes again, defeated.  They have won again.  I can’t even face myself, nor can I make sense of what just happened.

And yet, as I watch them escape into the fresh air, smiles on their faces, free from their sentences for an hour, the mood lightens.  The air is silent again, and I lie down.

I will do better next time, I promise.  I will.  I know.  I am.  After.


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