Who’s there to drop a load of the kid’s friends to the movies, wait in long lines at the doctor’s office after taking the day from work, fix dinner in work clothes after arriving home from screaming clients all day, or fight for child support because one idiot refuses to pay? The sheriff — um, no, I meant to say, “the parent.” Or in my case, the mom.
As a mother of a teenager, I can say to all other single parents of teens, “Bless you,” especially if they turn out alright in the end. Although my son displays brilliance at the drop of a hat, his social skills are on the precipice of mild insanity, as if he’s afraid he won’t fit in with the guys. The truth is, he’s far better than holding himself back to fit in for two more years. Cameron has a blinding bright future ahead of him.
While being homeschooled, his grades shined like the sun in the heavens — until I began working and expected him to proceed on his own. Meanwhile, his father insisted he’s “normal” and should attend public school. I tried to set clear expectations but caved after being pestered by him and our son. Instead of going to a school focusing on kids with special qualities, I registered him in public school three years ago. Cameron’s grades took a major dip. “He’s new to the system and needs to adjust,” I was told. I backed off and waited — for three years. Each and every year his scores dip lower and lower. His final term last year was below a 2.0.
“That’s it! At the rate you’re going, there will be nothing left to salvage after high school. Universities won’t accept you, much less fight for you, and the military will take you on as one of the lost kids who doesn’t know where else to go after their parents kick them out — as a last resort. This is not a plan! Instead, you’ll attend the Utah Military Academy (UMA) this year.”
Nikki, his kid sister, jumps up and down with glee. Her intent is to become a dog-handler for the military or even continue on as a military vet. Whichever she decides, it’s quite a phenomenal feat that makes her mother’s heart swell with pride.
Cameron isn’t so perky about the whole idea. He doesn’t want to abandon his friends and girlfriend this year, especially after we had the big “Condom Talk.” I explained that if he gives it a couple of months, he’ll find he fits right in and probably love it. Meanwhile, he’s determined to get his driver’s license all of a sudden. Hmm, I smell freedom in the wake. With all of this going on, I’ve given him a “bad guy” ultimatum.
If he decides not to attend military school, he’s going to his father’s house because he’s given up. I won’t quit on him even if it means I have to stop being “the good guy.” Now I wonder, am I making the right choice?