Sunday, June 23, 2013

Critter Meets Dope, Socks Pay The Price

I almost deleted the last piece, thought maybe it was a citable case of TMI, but then I had the hugest realization and so I can’t stop now, gotta finish what I started.

I realized the link. That due to the reactions of others, the rules, and my own insecurity, feelings of guilt and being told from such an early age that I “imagined” things {no I didn’t, people were doing things they shouldn’t have been doing and it took me years to realize I’d imagined nothing, in fact I’d downplayed and still do, but I am trained to question reality}... Claudia has been just another deep, dark, secret, something so important, and something that is so much a part of who I am, but something I always regret talking about, because I wind up feeling somehow diminished, or ashamed or that I’ve done something inappropriate, or that I imagined the whole thing... I’ve gotten the message that there are some things we’re not supposed to talk about. Maybe I feel weak for my inability to let it go. It was a long time, many years before I realized that it would never go away, but would only recede to the point of being manageable, and it is, but it is the reason I have been so open and upfront and in your face about having cancer, which I hadn't realized. I think I was simply unwilling to have another dirty, little, secret and a lot of people treat cancer that way. We want cancer to be pretty pink ribbons and delude ourselves there’s a cure for every one and every thing, so we can feel safe and comfortable. Enough is enough I suppose, and we all reach our limit of going along quietly, so I wasn’t going to be embarrassed or ashamed about having cancer, so I didn’t wear a wig, I didn’t get reconstruction, I didn’t feel sorry for myself, and sorry, but I did'nt worry about the discomfort of others {too much anyway}. This is the first time I’ve realized there’s a link between the two experiences and how I’ve dealt with them other than being prepared for a cancer diagnosis because I’m used to bad things happening.

Anyway, enough of that, back to important things like raccoons eating my son’s socks. Except here’s something else, that I can’t help but ponder. I’m not joking when I talk about my eldest boy being the luckiest person I’ve ever met and anyone who has intersected with him, knows I’m not exaggerating, it’s simply a natural phenomena. And while I don’t believe in god or fairies directing the show, there is definitely some linkage between my bad luck and his good... it’s the universal strand that runs through us all, the equalizer, it’s the powers that be, whatever the heck they may be, balancing the pendulum... we cancel each other out, we are, ying and yang. I have had some serious bad luck and what I’ve written about is really the tip of the iceberg, it’s almost comical when I go through it in my mind, it’s a black comedy, but yeah, I guess that’s why I’m relentless because all I’ve ever wanted is to be happy, to have a simple happy life and one time after another, since I was a little kid, pianos keep landing on my head... in a really disproportionate way, my goals are small and simple, but crazy things are always bonking me upside the head {and heart}. Which brings me back to Griffin, and when it’s your own kid being charmed, it really is a beautiful thing to behold, so I guess that’s my karmic payback although like everything else, it has it’s good and bad sides, because it can’t last forever and he’s totally unprepared for any kind of failure or turning of tides. I just need it to last through the college application process, because this has turned into my quest too, I guess it always was, and is for us all. I need to see him wind up in the right place and with a great, big, giant, obscene financial aid package, and I’m greedy in my desires and I’m convinced it’s gonna happen, so yes, I need the luck to hold in that regard even though at times, I’ve started to root against him, which will bring us back to the raccoons, I swear. But yeah, beyond all else, I've got to get my kid the best possible position on the starting line of life, that's my job, and to me, the starting line is the first day of college, the best possible college for him, that will do the most for him. Help him become the best, most amazing person he can be, help him figure out how the world works {cause I haven't got a clue}, and he's got some serious potential for a really beautiful life. Once I get him to the gate, it's out of my hands, I'm not a helicopter parent, I'll be there for him, of course, as long as I can, but things change, there's a seismic shift when he gets to the starting line.

Griffin is gorgeous, charming {when not at home}, popular, effortlessly smart, confident as all get out, comfortable in his own skin, good at every single thing he’s ever had interest in trying. He has been obsessed with balls {puleeze, keep your mind out of the gutter} since he was born and is above averagely good at every sport he’s tried and despite having no height on either side of his family he has busted all bell curves and grown to near 6'4" to further his football throwing prospects and abilities {and dazzle the girls and look good in a suit}. Each spring the school baseball and tennis teams fight over him, baseball always wins, but he’s quite a good lefty pitcher and loves being part of a team. He goes to prom with the prom queen, he’s dating the senior valedictorian, his teachers love him, he’s confident, he can carry a freaking tune. If he buys a raffle ticket he wins and the only thing I’ve ever won is a baseball bat, so who really won there? He gets his first pick of teachers, of teams, he wins and wins and wins and he does so pretty darned effortlessly.

The result of this besides utterances of “you know... life is good when you’re me” is a lack of empathy for those for which things don’t come so easily, a bit of cockiness, which coaches apparently love, and will probably take him far in life, even if it's maddening from my perspective, and well, sheer laziness. And, um, he’s got a mom that’s soft and gullible and has spoiled him, but without, he will not watch game of thrones, because he is loyal too.

I truly enjoy this kid's company, I love him to death, I will eternally miss having him around when he goes next year, but that doesn't mean he doesn't drive me up the wall and back down again and we always start spatting at the end of the school year because I feel like he’s not studying for finals, which he’s not, but then he gets A’s and he gets the last laugh, and because he’s spending too much time staring zombie-like at screens {always his achilles heel along with a bit of bad sportsmanship}, when he should be packing for camp, or mowing the lawn, or so many other things. Same as always this year and I get the usual “I know what I’m doing” and then he leaves for camp and the S.O.S. calls, and texts begin. This year he is a counselor, yay, they pay him instead of I pay them. Naturally, he wants to be assigned to Senior Hill where the oldest campers, 14/15-year-olds dwell, and is also the best real estate in the place, a clearing right on the lake, divine, the girls get stuck in the woods with all the bugs. I want him assigned to the younger-the-better kids because I want him to learn some responsibility, I want him to work, I want him to realize that his younger brother is really, really not a bratty pest. I’m feeling pretty good about getting what I want here “you’re a first year counselor, you're only 17, get real, they’re not giving you senior hill.” “So and so really likes me, I’m getting senior hill,” “we’ll see.” And I am soooooo rooting against my own son. Yeah, you can see the punchline coming a mile away, he’s on senior hill.

The first day he texts and asks me to send a flashlight and some washcloths. Two days later he calls and wants a padded cover or some such thing for his thin bunk mattress, they’ve been fine all these years, but now it’s too uncomfortable and then he texts and asks me to send socks. “Socks? are you kidding me? you didn’t even remember to pack socks? see, I kept telling you, less facebook, more focusing on the task at hand, and you’d have what you need and I wouldn’t have to spend my week running around doing errands for you.” “It’s not what you think, it’s not my fault, raccoons ate my socks.” “Yeah, right!” “Really, it wasn’t my fault, my trunk was open {not I left my trunk open}, there were cheetos in there and the raccoons got in and went crazy and the camp had to set a lot of raccoon traps, it’s not my fault.” “dude... open trunk + open cheetos = what the heck did you think was gonna happen?” And what is he doing with cheetos? and he’s a counselor and omg please don’t let anyone drown on his watch.

Senior hill, puleeze, he’s going to have those poor 15-year-olds waiting on him hand and foot. Yep, that is one lucky kid!

But he’s my lucky knucklehead, so ha-ha, I swear on my life, he’s going to Colby College with a gigantic financial aid package! And, I have a great new rule for when he comes home, inspired by the fact that I’m still cleaning out the toxic, wheezing, drowning, tornado victim that is his room -- he can only borrow my car if I can see his floor {oh baby!}, and that includes under the bed and closet too. I can’t wait! Last year while he was gone, I took his xbox and hid it for 6-months, that’s how mad I got at him and now that he has it back, he hardly ever plays, it’s beautiful, but facebook, that damned temptress facebook. I'm a pushover, but by the end of the school year, he's pushed me to my limit with his bottomless pit of need and refusal to help in ways that he should be helping. He can only charm me so far and for so long and believe me... it goes pretty darned far.

I’ve also decided that while he’s gone, I want to play lots and lots of ping pong. I need a ping pong master to guide me because once, just once, I want to beat that kid at ping pong. This is the guy who can roll two Yahtzees in a row, and can catch a ball from behind and with his eyes closed and can do freaking calculus. I’m pinning my unlikely hopes on ping pong, so if you want to practice with me, let me know. Honestly, all I want for my impending 50th birthday is to beat my son at ping pong, demand that he be a good sport and then gloat for the rest of my life... once, just once, that's all I want.

No comments:

Post a Comment