Today's view from the balcony is: sometimes kids just plain suck.
So, Tuesday night, Ashes asked me, once again, whether there was anything I could do to get her into Honors English at school. This has been something of a cause for her, and I think it's a good one. Even so, I tried to explain to her that I had already tried twice, and that the reason that she probably wasn't being considered is because she had a C her second quarter and a D for her mid-term (although that was, admittedly, because she took the test late, because she had the flu).
But I do want to encourage her, and since it is a course that she has a lot of interest in, I promised her I'd try, and Wednesday morning, I wrote to her teacher. Who wrote back. And her response was: "Okay."
So, they've rearranged her schedule for next year, and now she's in honors English, and I feel pretty damn good about the whole thing. Go, me!
I called up Josie to let her know, and then I said, "But watch. She'll say thank you, and then, yell at me about something else I didn't do."
Last night, when I arrived home, the kids started getting on my ass about supper, so I turned to Corb and he suggested that we go to eat. I immediately knew what the response was going to be: Ashes would be all for it, and Theo, who hates going out to eat, was going to give me a rash of shit.
Sure enough, that's what happened, but since I had given in to Theo last time we had suggested going out, I decided to hold firm this time.
That is, until we started out to the car.
There, stretched out on the front steps, was a pretty, deeply tanned, long-legged twenty-something, casually smoking a cigarette. It was a new neighbor of ours, and she had not gone unnoticed by my son. In fact, as we passed her, Ashes tapped Theo on the shoulder and said, loudly, "Look, it's your girlfriend."
The minute they got into the car, they started hitting each other. "Stop that!" I said.
Ashes laughed at me. "You think that's going to make me stop?" said Ashes.
"She said that girl's my girlfriend," fumed Theo.
"Because you like her," said Ashes.
"I know!" said Theo.
"Which is ridiculous, because she's twice your age," said Corb. "What is she going to do, say, 'Oh my God! He's feel the same way about me that I do, and we can run away together!'"
"Well, anyway," I said, thinking about how I'd feel if someone did that to me. "It was really embarrassing to Theo. Ashes, please stop staying things like that Theo."
Ashes snorted. "Like that's going to stop me."
"I'll say whatever I want," she said.
"Then there's no way we're going out to dinner," I said.
"Whatever," she said, and turned her iPod back on.
"My family is so retarded," said Theo.
So, that was it. Corb and I looked at each other, and decided to forget about going out to dinner, and just go to the supermarket, instead.
As we passed the restaurant, Ashes said, "Why aren't you stopping?"
"We're not going out any more," I said.
"That's so gay," she said dismissively.
We pulled into the parking lot of the supermarket. "We have to go in with you?" she asked.
"That is SO gay!" she said.
Well, okay. Whatever. Corb and I walked around the supermarket, with the kids tailing behind like puppies. The two of us bought whatever the hell we felt like for dinner. And, when we returned home, Corb went out to sit on the balcony for a bit. I joined him, a few minutes later.
"It's their attitude that was driving me crazy," said Corb.
"I know!" I said. "It's so frustrating. Maybe we should just cancel our two week vacation. Or just leave them at home with Josie. That'd serve them right."
I sit there, thinking gloomy thoughts, looking out onto the pond.
About five minutes later, Ashes opened the screen door, and sat next to me on the balcony. I pretended to ignore her.
"Daddy," she said, after a minute. "I'm sorry."
"You were awfully rotten in the car," I said gruffly.
"I know. That's just the way I am," she said, sounding as sweet as can be.
"Well..." And I have to admit, my heart started to soften. Or maybe it just grew a few sizes larger.
Properly chastised, we actually had a pretty good dinner. And then, afterwards, Ashes and I went out for a walk around the pond, just the two of us.
Okay. well, maybe kids don't suck that much...well, not ALL the time.
It's amazing the emotions that your children can inspire in you. The highs, the lows, the needless fears. I wish it was more of a level surface, but for some reason, being a parent tends to be a roller coaster, more than anything else. Sometimes I feel that all I can do is to clutch the front of my seat and try to hang on for dear life. Even so, there are moments...good moments. And they do help you forget all the really stressful times.
Unless, that is, you write them down, so you can use them for blackmail in the future.
And that dear friends, is the purpose of today's balcony view.