It’s the End of the Year as I Know it…

Wait, that’s not the song.

Close enough, though.

It is the end of the academic year. And it is as I know it. Frankly, I get a little tense in June. Historically, in my house, June is the month in which we really examine the pile of dropped balls among the kids and offer a last minute nudge to get their grades together. Did I say nudge? I meant several firm and insistent conversations that usually end with the words OR ELSE… Handily enough, I’m learning that such conversations are actually pointless and am, therefore, minutes away from deleting PowerSchool from all of my devices so that I’m just as shocked as the our youngest is are when he sees where he’s landed. This year, I want the same I don’t know how that happened reaction to zip through my brain.

Not really though.

Surely, you didn’t think I would just step out of the way and allowed destiny take the wheel.

Last year-ish, I penned an entry called Letting Her Fail. It was mostly about our eldest’s senior year of high school and how, at the insistence of, well, just about everyone, we backed the heckle off. Evidently, we should have backed off years prior – allowing her a longer academic leash during the years when hiccups wouldn’t really matter. I suppose the idea is that if, in ninth grade, she failed to turn in homework or study for tests, she would feel bad enough to have an Oprah moment. And, I suppose I was a bit controlling on making sure all T’s were crossed and I’s dotted. Maybe a bit more involved than I should have been and all that. Pancake kid, am I right? Once we took the parental feet off the gas, yes, she stalled. But then she moved forward. There was some fallout due to that late independent start, but in the end, the onus belonged to her. The neat benefits were that I got to relax my way through the last half of that academic year her senior year (so that I could focus on the pandemic) and she got to stop implying that all relevant hiccups in her life were someone related to her (step)mom.

Fast forward twelve months.

This time, it is Zack. Zack is wrapping up a ninth grade year that has been just about more than anyone should have to handle. As noted in another entry (I swear, I’m not trying to lead you back to my greatest hits (also, did you read this one, yet?)) we have again had the foot firmly planted on the gas. We were helping that kid move along – right up until a few weeks ago when his Algebra II teacher told us to back the heckle off. Wait, that sounds familiar. We were reminded that this man-child is essentially an 11th grader in a 9th grader’s body. His schedule is two years ahead of his brain, she said, confirming that, while he is just as smart as we’ve been advised, those advanced smarty-pants-thingers in his brain did not come with an advanced level of maturity. Apparently there was not a Buy a High IQ, get an Ability to Manage it Free sale. In other words, he is in the right class academically, but he is not quite mature enough to understand the ins and outs of managing the material. Oh. So, like, all our pushing was kind of pointless? Yes. Apparently until his hippo-something catches up to his IQ, there will be a misalignment of content versus return. And thus, we, once again, took our feet off of the gas. Once again, another sigh of relief and many pats on the back as we congratulated ourselves for allowing him a longer academic leash during the years when hiccups wouldn’t really matter. Okay, right – we probably should have been patting his actual teacher on the back – but Covid times, am I right?

So, just like always, I let it go.

Just kidding. I did not let it go.

I just did a better job of keeping it to myself. By writing about it in my blog for dozens of people to see.

I often write things down to get them out of my brain (and occasionally to keep them out of my mouth). I have about 900 notes that I don’t understand on my phone at this very moment – likely written just before bedtime in an effort to stop organizing random things in my sleep. I’m hoping by writing these related items down, that my think-before-I-speak monitor will engage and I will be able to maintain that zen feeling of backing the heckle off. I’m hoping that I will not swoop in for the last minute hero shot – you know the one – when you swear you aren’t going to help and then do help and then nobody learns any lessons at all? All that being said, I have compiled a quick list of predicted dropping balls. Wait, that didn’t sound right. I have compiled a quick list detailing what, over the next few months, will fall through the cracks. Because the related balls will be dropped. And I am hoping, at this current moment, to not only just let it happen – but to do so without my showing my oh, man, I knew it side-smile

Ball One: Zack will come home with three B’s on his final report card. I know, not terrible, lots of parents would kill for three B’s, yadda yadda yadda. It’s just that Zack’s never had a B on any of his final report cards. He’s only actually had one B on a quarterly report card (totally probably not his fault as he didn’t like.. no, I hear it, it was definitely his fault). In nine years. That means something to us. It also means something to him. He will say he doesn’t care and shrug it off while actually really caring a whole lot. The first B will be in Algebra II (and, actually, it may become a C). As instructed, it will be chalked up to his brain pieces still clicking into place. The second B will be in World History II. It will be rooted in an inability to turn assignments in – either on time or at all. The third B, and this is the one that really gets me, will be in PE. Are they even having PE this year? Kind of? There is no dress out, no sporting together, no physical in the education. Oh and, side note, he took this class in Semester 1 while in the online school. My son is getting a B in online gym. How….oh, thank you for asking. Way back when he flipped from the online school to the face to face school, his PE grade did not get transferred over correctly. He has been reminded 732 times to get it taken care of. It has not been taken care of.

Ball Two: Zoe will not see an eye doctor, perhaps ever. I know, you thought I was going to leave the elder child out. Nope. Equal opportunist. Zoe has mentioned several times over the last nine-ish months that she really needs to get new glasses. However, at eighteen/living downtown/working/schooling, her beloved parents cannot be responsible for scheduling an appointment for her. We know that she knows how to schedule an appointment as we practiced this feat triumphantly prior to her departure last July. We have also assured her multiple times that we would come collect her for any and all necessary appointments, but that still requires that she dial the number. It is now June and she has plans to leave for California in August her summer plans are all over the place – some of which involve places that are not local. I’m not sure if you all are aware, but (as told to this child)…seeing an eye doctor means grabbing an appointment months in advance. Tick Tock.

Ball Three: Zack will learn that, yes, he really should have studied for his driver’s permit. I hope to the good Lort that I’m wrong here because I miss have a teenage errand runner – the quicker we can get him up to speed, the better. And yeah, I totally get it – he’s been riding in cars his entire life, played hours and hours of Mario Cart, watches You Tube religiously, and has reached an age where his backseat driving advice is accurate nearly 17% of the time. But, holy hoops. Have you hopped onto the Covid version of the DMV site? This mom was stopped just short of giving away a kidney to get him an appointment thirty-three days after he was first eligible to take the exam. At that time, I gave him a pretty firm order the book directive with a follow up of or just get it from the driver’s ed teacher. I explained that if he did not pass on the first go (I mean, it wasn’t like a super high pressure convo), that I would likely be unable to get another appointment for several months after. Therefore, I was only slightly alarmed to learn, two weeks prior to his test, that he had not only failed to crack open the booklet – he had failed to procure one.

Ball Four: There is a strong possibility that we will celebrate Father’s Day with an awkward lack of, well, Man Fare. Cards? Unclear. I have pointed out the card aisle each time Zack and I were in a store together over the last four weeks – which has been three times (it’s vaccination season). As with birthdays, we have tried to convince both children that these Hallmark Holidays are, in fact, annual events. We know they can grasp this annual holiday concept as neither has missed delivering their unrequested Christmas List mid-October in nearly a decade. Now, yes, Father’s Day is trickier as the actual date floats around. Yet…still…if only there were a way to lock down that annual event each year. If only there were something they could refer to, like a paper thing or even a digital thing or maybe even a post-it…just some way to create some sort of reminder for themselves. Instead, these special days seemingly pop up out of nowhere – a surprise for which the kids feel the blame should rest firmly with either the schools (for not providing an I made an ashtray out of clay craft day all the way to high school) or with a parent (for not providing what? Another reminder? My throat is getting sore). Ironically, it was on each of their birthdays that we, the parents, were not only able to remember they were having a birthday but also gave them magical devices with build in ways to keep track of soooooo many things. I will not die on this hill. Well, at least not on this Father’s Day hill. If it were the Mother’s Day hill, I’d start some sort of ASMR hinting system through all available Alexas.

Ball Five: The jury is definitely out on a transfer in schools for Zoe. A transfer has been her plan since day one of her first year of local learning – local because of dropped balls within the 2019 application season. Our assumption is that she learned a great life lesson in round one and will have all ducks in a row for landing in a better pond in round two. However, due to her urge/need to traverse the country, the ducks need to be assembled early enough to make the actual traverse. And while I vowed not to nag this year, her whispers of wanting to tap into my organizational skills hit me in my heart spot. Still, with buy the plane ticket time nearing and housing applications laying on the floor of her Richmond apartment, it’s looking quite possible that we will be getting another roommate. I do hope I’m wrong on this one (oh, yes, and also on the four balls above), but if not, I’m sure I’ll be my usual flexible self.

Just kidding. We all know my flexible self is quite unusual.

And, as per the norm, the the writing of this blog, and therefore the predictions within it, has now aged for a few weeks. That’s actually kind of exciting because I can already offer some updates:

Ball One: I think we will land on a B and a C. I did swoop in. I couldn’t handle the B in online gym. Dammit. We’ll never know if he really tried or just waved at his PE teacher one day at lunch.

Ball Two: No movement.

Ball Three: Well, I did NOT see this coming. Even though I predicted it would happen, I didn’t think that the sign test would really get the best of Zack on question two. I do believe, it could be possible, there is a whisper of….a lesson was learned. As for me, I will carry on with running my own errands.

Ball Four: Oh. Yeah. That hasn’t happened yet. Babe…I don’t know how Father’s Day is going to go down. But I do know that you deserve all the awards available as you are an amazing teacher in my quest to be a real parent. And I’m not even saying that because we’ve fussed at each other for 23 of the last 24 hours.

Ball Five: Will eventually get its very own post.

It’s been a long month already – filled with moments where I blurt out gems like I’m tired of managing these kids’ lives!! or Why do we have to keep going over the same dang things? I know, this is what I signed up for. It’s just that I didn’t really know what I was signing up for at the time. I knew it had to do with growing people – I just had no idea how much work the farm would need.

Or that I would end each day looking very much like a tired and over-used scarecrow.

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