I had a lovely time at a work-dinner tonight. It was the Homecoming Alumni Banquet, where the university recognized three alums for their achievements. The food was good, the company was nice, and since I’m fresh out of hot dates at the moment (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it), I got to bring my 15yo as my guest. We had fun, and he behaved like a gentleman — see, I knew he was capable of breathing between mouthfuls of food! 😉 He cut his meat into bite-sized chunks, ate slowly, and carried on conversations with others at our table. I was very proud of him and enjoyed our time together.
Then, we got back home.
I learned that No. 4 had ridden his bike through the neighbor’s neatly raked gravel driveway ditch, which a) he knew full well not to do, and b) he’d already been scolded for doing it once before. So tomorrow, he and I are walking back over there (his big brother who was babysitting already made him apologize today) to offer his manual labor services for whatever they might need done. In addition, he’s grounded from anything with wheels for the rest of the month. I will probably tack on some additional chores, especially if the neighbor doesn’t accept his offer to work.
I just don’t understand what goes through their heads sometimes! It’s infuriating, not to mention embarrassing because the neighbors must think I’m a totally out-of-touch parent. I probably shouldn’t care what they think, but I do. We are the minorities in this neighborhood/community/city/state, and it makes me feel sad and awkward when their behavior reflects poorly on our family. Maybe that sounds like I’m putting too much pressure on my kids to behave, but are the Mormon kids riding their bikes around the neighborhood like stark-raving maniacs? Absolutely not — in fact, I hardly ever see them. It’s like there are these huge houses filled with gobs of kids, and you Never. Hear. Them. EVER. It’s uncanny to me, because my boys are LOUD even when they are behaving!!
As if that weren’t enough, No. 3 blew a gasket with me when I scolded and grounded him because he was disrespectful to his brother-in-charge while I was away. There’s more to the story, but I’m tired and don’t feel like rehashing it. He accused me of not caring about him and wanted to call Nana to tattle on me for being so mean to him. Sometimes, I have to take deep breaths before I can even speak.
Then, I found out that one of the best hug-givers at my old church died unexpectedly today after what seems to have been a very brief and violent illness. No one knows anything substantive, so we have to wait for the autopsy results to learn more. Her husband died of a heart attack a year or so ago, and part of me feels glad that they are together in glory, but part of me still feels the loss. We weren’t even super-close friends, but she was always eager to greet me with a hug, and she looked forward to reading the devotionals that I write. She was one of those people who you don’t realize are watching you, until they say something that blows you away — like how I meant a lot to her, and she looked up to me. What? Really? Wow. Humbled.
Plus, tomorrow is 9/11, which means social media is filled with quotes and blurbs and photos and rants. I think I’ll just take a day off from Twitter and Facebook, because the deluge of that type of imagery makes me feel gloomy.
I really should be in bed by now, but I need to clear my mind. I read my Bible for a little while earlier, and maybe I’ll read a novel for a bit. It’s hard to go to sleep — and sleep well — when my brain is filled with sadness and coulda-shoulda-woulda scenarios that make me feel like a terrible parent.