In retrospect, I probably should have seen the fact that my son had met each of his principals as a pretty powerful hint of foreshadowing. Especially when you consider his first one-on-one was in the first grade. And no, it wasn’t in the we’d-like-to-hand-you-yet-another-award sort of meeting. Michael’s lonely corridor trek was that other kind of to face-to-face encounter with the big guy. Or woman, in the case of his sit down with Ms. Richardson in elementary school.
At his second grammar school, it was Mr. Kaplon and Michael accurately tied his conviction to his lack of an escape plan. Well, actually he had a plan; he just wasn’t able to execute it very well. All of the other snowball throwers hightailed it the heck out of there before the principal’s arrival on scene. Speed in athleticism has always been a particular handicap for Michael. Add that to that fact that his accomplices were members of the football team and it was easy to see why he alone wasn’t able to evade capture.
So I couldn’t exactly express shock when I learned of his most recent infraction.
But of course it was my fault.
Let me back that up a bit. In some convoluted kid logic, both my children lay fault for many of their misdeeds on me. In part it is to abdicate responsibility. But in their defense, they follow a logical line of thinking. Since it was my choice to have children in the first place, the root of anything negatively attached to them is always traced back to me. Never mind, that it was dad who really pushed that whole let’s-have-kids notion long before I was ready. Never mind, that at some point, I might enjoy abdicating a little responsibility of my own. But in the recent bubbles episode, I actually do have to accept much of the blame.
Then again, maybe it’s not really my fault.
Gee, I wonder where my kids get it from?
I’ll call it my Twinkie defense.
Twinkies, Twitter, whatever. There are just certain sweet treats better left out of the hands of newbies. In my case, it was Facebook.
Twenty-first century plunger that I am, I had enough knowledge to open a Facebook account back when it was relatively new. Not really my idea, btw (yes, I even know the acronyms. I am so whatever that most recent word for “cool” is). But I was urged to open the account as a means to promote my novel. (Insert shameless plug for http://www.lindaemma.com and Prime Meridian). So, I opened it. Did absolutely nothing further in the way of self-promotion, but me and my 22 friends were contentedly ignoring one another on our ever-so-with-it Facebook accounts.
Did you know that Facebook is a really good stalking tool? Sorry, my daughter tells me it’s “creepin,” not stalking.
But don’t worry, I’m not interested in you or your kids. I’m not even that interested in my little girl –she said yes to my friend request and lays it all bare for me and whomever else might be creepin on her. Her brother, on the other hand thought that the idea of friending his mother was just a little too weird for him.
Okay, so I can’t blame him. Would I have wanted my own exploits viewed by my mother? God, no! I’m WAY over 21 and I still haven’t told her about the incident with the beer in the boot hamper.
Back to FB -As I tell my kids and my students all the time, nothing you put out there in cyberspace is private. Ever.
He was forewarned, so if he chose to share his life online, anyone gets to peek. Even mom.
Back to why I take some of the blame in the great bubble caper. I was creepin on my son’s Facebook when I noted the upcoming Bubbles holiday.
Okay, so maybe I should have realized that Bubbles Wednesday wasn’t a nationally recognized and government-sanctioned holiday. But what the heck –I thought that twin day in middle school was a pretty lame idea. And Dr Seus’s birthday rivaled Martin Luther King’s in elementary school. What did I know?
Anyway, Michael and I had just come out the other side of a rough patch (see blog title) and I was trying to show him that mom wasn’t really always on his case.
Off-handedly noting the impending holiday, I asked if he had his bubbles.
Expressing even mild shock that I was aware of Bubbles Wednesday would have implied he cared about what I thought and how I might have discovered the holiday. Clearly, his mumbled monosyllable and shoulder shrug was him acting in-character. At some point during that morning grunted conversation, however, he admitted that he might be ill-prepared. His bubble supply lamely consisted of the last of the tiny party favors given out at his cousin’s high school graduation. How insufficient.
Can I just say that before I stocked him up with ammunition, I did tell him to use it for good and not evil? I warned that there could be bubbles repercussions if he misfired or misused. This falls under the “I told you so” defense. Is there even such a thing?
On his way out the door, there was an actual sentence. We write these down now (kind of like we wrote down other illustrious events from his childhood like first smile and rollover). He said something like –“C’mon mom, how would you seriously handle that phone conversation if your son got caught blowing bubbles?”
Talk about foreshadowing.
Fifteen and he’s a friggin prophet.
I got the phone call.
The vice principal didn’t see the humor in the event. In fact, he took it pretty seriously. I think he used the word “insubordination.”
I played parent and agreed that Michael should be punished.
However, when Michael painted the picture of his exile to the “bad” lunchroom table, I couldn’t help but picture a B movie scenrio in which one convict asks another at the mess room table, “so what are ya in for?”
“Flippin off a teacher.”
“Blowing bubbles in math class.”