Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Teen Crossing: Expect Delays

Loyal readers, I apologize.

Since starting my "Lovin' the Alien" blog two and a half years ago, I have never gone this long without writing. It's been a full ten days since my holiday post about Halloween hos. This is a new personal record (and not one that I'm proud of). Even when I've been away on vacations in the past, I've written from the road or scheduled posts in advance. But not this time.

My bad.

Of course, I do have a very viable excuse. A veritable slew of them, in fact. I'm running a marketing agency. I'm writing movie reviews. I'm dealing with a small fleet of old cars that need maintenance (and in one case, a new front end, thanks to last month's red-light runner at the intersection of Storrow Drive and Beacon Street). I'm trying to make it to yoga. I'm trying to make it through Zumba. I recently published my book.

None of this is new. (Well, the book and the fender bender are.) But, the past week has flown by with no time to write for one main reason ...

I am the mother of a teen.

Here is a handful of the most recent maternal activity that kept me away from my laptop. 

AP World History
Between September and May, my daughter has to cover all the history of the world. Holy ancient civilizations, Batman! That's a lot of history. And a lot of dates and rulers and wars and dynasties and cultures and ... and ... and. Her teacher is wise and tests the students every other chapter or so, rather than save it all for one or two major traumatic exams. 

Of course, this means that we have mini traumatic exams every week. 60 multiple choice questions. Daunting. After the first test, we brainstormed and came up with a system. My daughter studies; she presents what she's learned to us; then we quiz her. I highly recommend this process — but it takes at least a couple of hours. Every week. Usually after a particularly long day of work. With a cold coming on.

You get the picture.

Multiple Halloweens
This kooky, spooky holiday has become more complicated as my daughter's gotten older. Gone are the days when she chose a single outfit and stuck with it. (Winnie the Pooh, the yellow Teletubby, a ghostly cowboy, a combo kitten-fairy-princess because she couldn't make up her mind.) 

This year, we had to dress up for school (she borrowed my rasta mamma outfit), dress up for the stable (she and the pony were clowns — don't ask) and, dress up for the annual Hunter Pace, an elaborate costumed equestrian event (she and her teammate — and their horses — were Mexican Day of the Dead). They did win the blue ribbon, so it was time (lots and lots thereof), well-spent.

A Tale of Two Cities
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." 

No, I'm not talking about the French Revolution. I'm referring to the analytical essays my daughter has to turn in every other week for her English class. And, more specifically, the time she asks me to discuss and review and proof and print them.

As always, it's a bit of a conundrum. I definitely don't write the  papers for her. In fact, I often irritate her (okay, piss her off royally) by circling a passage and suggesting that she revisit it to find her own mistake. But, the process does take time (please refer to AP World History paragraphs above).

Items Missing in Action
In the last few days, we've lost an envelope of cash (costume reimbursement from the parents of the other Day of the Dead girl), and a watch. Not just any watch, mind you. The $125 "Ultimate Event Watch," a cool $125 timepiece that is, apparently, absolutely critical (to the tune of $125) if you're going to compete in three-phase equestrian events.

Did I mention it cost $125?

Not only did these two mysterious disappearances cause worry and stress, but they necessitated multiple people on multiple occasions searching through the pony barn and car upholstery. Happily (surprisingly), both were found.

The time spent, though, was gone forever.

At the end of the day (and why do so many of these fire drills happen at exactly that ... the end of the day?), I know that I am lucky to have a daughter who cares about her schoolwork and her grades, who puts thought and passion (and often my money) into her extracurricular activities. 

I also know that this time will pass — too soon — and she'll be off at college ... 

leaving her loving mother-proofreader-costume designer behind.

If you enjoyed this post, order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at

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