"Confused Parent of Strange Children"--the words on the button my son gave me for Christmas, along with The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, which I had hinted broadly for, and even had my daughter buy and then tell her brother that he could give it to me since she'd already gotten me a present.
So much has happened since I was last here in June. My daughter started high school. So far, she's made a spectacular transition. She ended the first quarter on the honor roll, and played goalie for the varsity soccer team. She seems to have lots of friends, and to mostly be very happy. Sometimes, I think my girl is here on this earth to experience...joy! Or to spread it around. Even when she gets cranky, she doesn't stay in that dark country very long. She delights me. My son is more like me. Impatient. High strung. Reactive. We often rub each other raw over insignificant things, and have to bite our tongues with each other a lot, so as not to do lasting damage. I irritate him. I know this. I am glad that my husband is in our lives. He steps between us and makes things light. My daughter is more like my husband.
There was the night right after Thanksgiving when my son and I ended up screaming at each other in the living room, my son yelling that I needed to butt out of his college search and let him handle it, me screaming that he wasn't handling it and all the deadlines were passing, and his early action schools were writing for his senior grades and science teacher recommendation, him screaming that he had it under control, that he'd talked to his counselor about it, me screaming that he should have just told me that, because then I wouldn't have called his counselor myself, us screaming sceaming screaming.
My husband, who had been in the bedroom peacefully turning film negatives into digital photo files with his new birthday gizmo, finally stalked into the living room and commanded, "Both of you, quiet!" At which point, our daughter skips in and says, "Look at this!" and shows us a photo of us in the park, my son carefully picking a leaf out of my hair. A beautiful caring mother and son shot. My son and I looked at each other and quit the screaming, no apologies, but all the animus gone.
As it turns out, my son got into his three early action colleges. Thank God he applied to some places early action, and got in, or I might have obsessively been pushing for him to apply to more schools, more schools, maybe even into April, or whenever the first acceptance rolled in. I think he should have applied to more "reach" schools, though, that he is a better candidate than he (or I) gave him credit for. He thinks at this moment that he wants to go to a school in the D.C. area, and what better time for him to be there than when Barack Obama is in The White House. He's not so interested in engineering anymore, doesn't want to be quite so intimate with math. He's thinking kinesiology, the science of human performance. I'm managing to keep silent on this. I'm managing not to say this is a pre-med path, or a bioengineering path, or a physical therapy path. He'll probably shift in many new directions before his future, never immutable, claims him.
I have to stop writing now. My family has sniffed out the fact that I am writing (trying to write) about them, and they keep bursting into the room, noisily trying to read over my shoulder, which is robbing me of all deep thoughts.
I wanted to write about Christmas day. My brother, his wife, their two kids, 8 and 5, are here from Jamaica, as is my mom, who turns 87 in a month. My 90-year-old aunt came out of the hospital to spend the day with us. My cousin stayed sober. Lots of stories there. Can't manage to mine them right now. Here comes my willowy neice, singing.