I am sulking right now. I am trying to decide what kind of father I am. At this very moment, I am upstairs doing what I wanted to start ninety minutes ago, which was write three blogs to wind down the weekend. There have been all kinds of thoughts bouncing around in my head for days, one blog already half written, with no time to write. Some times that would be a bad thing, but the last few days have been really good, days where the pieces of my marriage have felt like a few have come back together. Believe me, that is a miracle. Having no time to write was a good thing.
The last ninety minutes have been what has become typical for my family — the last dregs of a relaxing, peaceful, even healing weekend destroyed by dealing with a teenage son. If he put the same energy into his schoolwork as he does fighting the responsibility of doing it, he would be an excellent student. He is bright and intelligent, but won’t do the work. Three C and four D grades on his Fall semester grade report show that. So now I am pushing him, no longer taking his word that the necessary work is getting done, and he hates it. Band is one of the easiest classes in school to get an A in, yet he has an F right now. What have we been fighting with him to do for the last ninety minutes? We have been trying to get him to do a 20 minute online sight reading assignment for band, plus another 10 minutes of practice to put into his practice log.
Finally, I said that this lack of caring has got to stop. The boy looked at me, called me an idiot, then threw a full disposable plastic bottle of water at me. Without thinking, I caught the bottle with my throwing hand and whipped it back at him, hitting him square in the forehead and covering him with cold water. He then rushed at me to try to tackle me and I shoved him to the floor. The kid is as tall as I am and outweighs me by ten pounds. Then he grabbed the bottle of water, tried to throw what was left on my computer.
Something unusual happened.. instead of protecting Nate, Mir scolded Nate for calling his father an idiot and pulled him into our kitchen, away from me. She told him I was only telling him something that he needed to hear, was not being mean to him, and he had no reason for what he had done. It was then that I retreated upstairs. After the kid tried to tackle me, I could feel that I was angry. If he came at me again, he was going to get the back of my hand. I think that was the first time ever that she did not make me the bad guy, supported me.
Mir and I have spent a lot of time together the past few days. Since Wednesday, we have been car shopping. Mir hates it. I relish it, although I don’t like spending a lot of time looking. But my wife needs time for a notion to sink in, just like it took time to sink in that our eleven year old 160,000 mile van needed to be replaced. She has been driving it for her job since November, costing a fortune in fuel. The engine has been making a lot of noise, a timing chain issue. I have been suggesting she consider replacing the van for months. Last weekend, she asked me to help her find a car.
So I did. We went to four dealers over the course of two days. Friday, I went to another dealer, put a car on hold that I knew she would like and made an appointment for Saturday afternoon to look at the car together. She loved it. We negotiated together, went home to discuss what to do, went back and bought the car. Last night, we went out to dinner to celebrate. The car is practical, not extravagant, just right. Mir loves it. And we did very well together buying it, had a good time.
Despite the fight, the good outweighs the bad…for once. Might be a good sign.