GOD, Please GRANT me serenity! It's been a rough week.
(Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.)
I've felt DEVOURED by recent events!
I've recycled arguments! I've recycled memories.
I'm looking for directions. They're somewhere, buried or hiding!
Steve and I feel like we've asked for help but that the responses are as confusing as the problems we face.
In a nutshell, Alex was suspended. It happened last Wednesday. We were summoned to the principal's office--both of us, despite the fact that the administration knew this meant our business had to close immediately. We were scared....no, we were terrified. We knew that just the day before the Dreher High School staff found out about the MySpace profile that Alex had created for the principal. (From time to time, I've monitored Alex's MySpace. We had no idea he'd created this new, slanderous profile.) We thought he'd be expelled. Fortunately, he was only suspended for three days, Wednesday through Friday. We couldn't say anything. For all we knew, this meeting was an attempt to gain more evidence against us---slander, libel, lawsuits went through our minds...lose of our home, business, etc. We were told that his missed homework could be emailed to him....did they actually think he still had access to the Internet? Yes, they did! They seemed totally shocked that we would deny Alex a password as a punishment for Internet infractions. So, I handed the school officer my business card and requested all homework to be sent to my email address. We were instructed to collect the assignments in the school office on Friday afternoon. We were told to be grateful (Steve and I were) and that all the school's actions were in Alex's best interests.
We left, with Alex, mortified, embarrassed, and still scared. Only one teacher wrote to us; the drama instructor promised the missing assignment would be in the office. There were more than one "knock down/drag out" and tearful fights. The MySpace profile included the "JK" for "Just Kidding" and said it had been hosted by the first amendment. Alex was shocked to learn that such actions aren't covered in the first amendment, but he knew (and could recite as if he possessed a law degree) that ignorance of a law was no excuse for breaking it.
This was also report card day. Alex managed to take his first good interim grades in years and turn them into a dismal result. From four As, two Bs, and a C he dropped to one A (100% in speech---cute teacher that he likes), one B (drama), four Ds and an F. He likely had to try to fail this miserably! I have no idea how else this could happen.
The grades weren't the worst of it. He lied. He managed to convince Steve that the grades would be good enough for Steve to book the airline ticket to England. Alex conned his Dad into spring break with Mathias.
Of course, the trip has been cancelled. Alex is grounded. We are reeling in depression---how could we be such horribly irresponsible parents? Steve and I held on to the words, "This is in Alex's best interest". (At the Gallery80808/VistaStudios art opening on Friday night, a Dreher teacher gave Alex a "high five" for his efforts.....great help for parenting.)
On Friday afternoon I went to collect Alex's assignments. None were in the office or with the attendance secretary. I checked with the school officer; yes, the email requesting assignments had been sent on Wednesday afternoon. No one bothered---Alex's best interest.
Well, the yard sure benefited. Alex became manual labor for the yard Steve always wanted. It looks great. Carolina jasmine have been planted in the beds in front of the garage. All the other flower beds were raked and cleared, weeded and mulched. There's a cute edging around the century old oak tree. Impatiences ring the tree trunk. Poppy seeds from a vineyard in California line a fence. They bought a stand for the hammock. Plants are out front too. The yard has never looked this good.
Alex also wanted to learn to make pants. I bought a really, really cheap unisex pattern and insisted he use only material in my studio for the first pair. The result is totally hilarious....but it was created following the instructions by Alex. I guess the yard and the sewing were in Alex's best interest. Our arguments (which naturally Steve and I won---though with difficulty....Alex is brilliant despite his grades and very good at debate!) were also in his best interests.
At the same time, I feel like parenting is like following most of the signs I saw in California. The directions are just not obvious. I'm at a loss, feel helpless, and rather pathetic most of the time.