Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh, Sometimes Being Dad is a Pain in the Butt

Madeleina, my baby, hates me. She has not been here for 5 days--unheard of. The problem is probably normal, but killing me. She's in the band, and then she failed a course so she was suspended. I don't mind that. But she was telling me, for the whole first six weeks, that her work was done. And then it turned out that three of her teachers called me in the sixth week to say she was 6-8-10 homeworks/tests behind. When I asked her about it there was an excuse. Well, I wasn't great about that. I gave her three/four days off from school to catch up, but at the same time I was stern in that I told her I never ever wanted her to lie to me again. If you didn't do the work, admit it. If you need help because you don't understand, I'll understand. But if you tell me no sweat, that it's done, when you know damned well it's not done, well, that's a lie. And I'm not big on lies. Not saying I've never lied. I am not a saint. But I try my darnedest to be honest, even when it kills me.
   She understood.
   Then last week she called Chepa to take her out of school because she was unexpectedly bleeding. Well, I'd taken her out of school two weeks earlier for the same thing. And unless she's bleeding to death, one of those two was not true. Chepa said that when she got home it turned out that she said it was a mistake, that she wasn't bleeding at all.
    I called Madeleina and asked her to explain. She couldn't/wouldn't. She just didn't want to go to a tough class.
    Next day Chepa called me, nearly in tears, saying that Madeleina was screaming that she'd be a prostitute, go off and be a bum, but she didn't want to go to school. Didn't need school. Would not talk with me about it.
    I calmed Chepa down, then calmed her down two more times that day. Chepa was upset, and it takes a lot to get her upset.
    That night, when it was time to pick Madeleina up, she wasn't there. But an hour later she called from a phone that wasn't hers and a dozen kids were screaming "help" in the background. Then she hung up. I called back: They were still screaming and she hung up again.
    Two minutes later she called to say it was just a joke and they were having a good time and come to pick her up. I was pissed off. To say the least. I told her that she was facing three nights without television or internet or phone: Just homework.
    She hung up. And I have not heard from  her since.
    This is a beautiful, fantastic girl who has never been spanked. Not once. Never been grounded. But she is pushing limits here, reasonable limits with adult conversations that she appears to understand. I miss her like crazy. She won't talk to me. Chepa says that Madeleina thinks I'm still upset.
     I'm not actively upset. But for lying to me, for lying to her mom, for not doing the work she said she did, for letting her band mates down by failing...well, she still has to pay the piper with a couple of days of just doing homework.
     I miss her like crazy. But parents know better most of the time. I was 15, I know about rebellion. I also know that getting taken to task now and then is a good thing, finally.
     Dad still loves you endlessly, Madeleina. But you think you're old enough to drive a car? Not if you won't take responsibility for telling the truth about your homework or if you let your team down by getting disqualified, you don't. That's just reality, girl. It is not what we want, but it is the way this world works.

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