It's All Part of Growing Up: Drama Queens
She proceeds to make the case for staying home so that she can work on her story (which is due Friday and which she told me last night she didn't have to work on because she was almost done), read ("for like 3 hours, so my class can win the Pizza Party for the class with the most minutes"), work on her math facts, practise typing, discover a cure for cancer and generally improve her mind all day long.
I listened and then asked, "So, why don't you want to go to school?"
She said it had nothing to do with that, she just wanted time to work on all these projects.
"You can do all that when you get home".
"But Muh-oommmm, I'm going to want to play soccer with the Gang when I get home".
"Sounds like your priorities are all mixed up, then", I said, ever so calmly. "School work comes first, then soccer. If you want to get these things done then..."
And like that, for about 12 rounds. Have I mentioned that The Child is not one for taking "no" for an answer?
"Listen," I finally said, "You asked to talk. You talked. I listened. And I say 'no'. You're going to school. You have 15 days left and you're this close to making honors. You need to be in school and you're going to school".
Then the truth came out. She wants a break from "the drama".
Oh. The drama. 2 (very typical) things are going on. One is that a friend has started talking trash about her in order to ingratiate herself with the "popular kids". Said "friend", btw, never even particularly had friends until The Child came along. Not to mention, I hauled her petty little butt to school for the first 6 months of the year, plus took her to volleyball games, without so much as a 'thanks a lot' or a couple bucks for gas. Which, when I was doing it, didn't bother me at all. The kid is in a single parent home, it was totally on the way and I didn't do it for any other reason than that it was the right thing to do. But I'll be honest, now I kinda want to smack her.
The other drama owes to a breakup between a 7th grader and an 8th grader, with some other girl being blamed for the break up even though the parties involved have repeatedly said she had nothing to do with it. The Child is getting sucked in because she's friends with the girl who's being blamed. Everyone is getting all Capulet and Montague about the whole stupid thing. Which you and I know is the way of adolescents, but still.
And you know what I really hate? The fact that I show up to school for a meeting today and all these simpering little chicklets, who are being nasty to my kid, smile honey at me and say, "Hi, Mrs. T!" I'd as soon crack their heads together as look at them, snivelling little rat-faced gits.
This morning I told The Child a story about a girl who made my life a misery throughout high school. She was a petty, gossiping thing whose brother I dated off and on. When we were on I was the apple of the entire family's eye. (Perhaps, now that I think on it, they were so nasty because they only had the one eye). But when we were off, oh. my. yord. And the whole family got into the act, the parents included. They would snipe at me, say horrible things behind my back, complain to my parents about what a wretched child I was. But in some ways the oldest daughter was the worst because I saw her on campus every day and she never failed to say cutting things and talk about me. It was so bad that even after I graduated and moved away from home there were still one or two incidents, the last occurring when I was 30 frakking years old. I mean, come the frak on! The words "get a life" spring to mind.
So I told The Child about all this, including my eventual realization that there was never going to be a change in the behavior of the girl or her family. The only thing that freed me from their drama was the decision to not engage. I told her that there will always be people who just aren't happy unless they are trying to make someone else miserable and that life is too short to play their petty little game.
Oh, and btw, I was regaling her with this tale on the way to school. I walked her in (since I had my meeting) and I said, "Child, I'm telling you all this to help you see that this drama you're experiencing is nothing new. Everyone has a story like this. But you get to decide whether or not you're going to play along. Stand firm in the truth you know about yourself, focus on the good friends you have and let the rest of them stew in their own juice".
She smiled and said, "Thanks, Mom". I love when that happens.