The mornings have been progressively difficult in getting my teen daughter out the door to school. She can barely get out of bed. If we can get her out of bed she can’t get her uniform on. Once the uniform is on, I can be optimistic, though she still has to get down the stairs. Once downstairs I am even more optimistic because from there, it’s just shoes, phone, metrocard. She rarely eats breakfast and never combs her wild, waist-length hair; she resembles a yeti more than a girl. And like a yeti she roars at us, calls us ignorant, insensitive, psychopathic, abusive. I can only pray once my husband deposits her at school she’ll act sane enough for them to refrain from calling authorities. So far, no authorities have been called, but remember Catholic schools are desperate for those seats to stay filled. She’s going to have to do something really crazy to be kicked out. Pacing the halls and talking to herself won’t cut it.
As it turns out the threat of academic probation was hot air. She’s been on academic probation for 5 quarters now, all formally expressed with letters full of warnings that she will be banned from extracurriculars (hasn’t happened yet), will risk dismissal from school. Yet the school appears to have methods to accommodate horrible academic performance through a combination of soft grading, brainless summer school, and/or using regents in lieu of class grades (that’s how she passed Algebra and French last year).
Her sleep is erratic and she paces incessantly in, out and around her room, chattering to invisible people in what actually sounds like very interesting conversations- only I hear just one side of it. I’ve asked several times if she hears voices and she always gives an emphatic no!
“And my eyes don’t dart either,” she’ll add quickly.
“Your eyes dart all the time.”
“No they don’t!”
And she’s always sick, exhausted, mottled all over in strange rashes, limping through swollen joints and downing a cocktail of meds just to feel something close to normal. Even my husband- who is bizarrely optimistic and upbeat- admitted this morning he never thought we’d produce a child with so many problems.
So I’ve decided to give up. If she can’t get out of bed, she can’t get out of bed. If begging, pleading and yelling don’t work, I surrender. Checkmate. It’s too bad our society demands teens fit into cookie cutters without giving them time to grow into themselves. Of course, her problems could be a whole lot worse than not fitting a cookie cutter but as I’ve repeatedly said to my husband: time will tell. One day we’ll get that call from the school, or Bellevue. She’ll either be able to function and take care of herself, or she won’t, and we’ll be here to pick up the pieces till the grave. Since my grandmother lived to 103 that gives me a potential 62 more years to protect her as best I can.