trying to step back
wednesday, february 14, 2007

i've been trying to write this entry for days. it sucks that it took a phone call on valnetine's day to force the issue.

since my second oldest moved out, things have gotten better for us in the house, but, apparently, not so good for her. today i received my second phone call in a month from one of her teachers, and i can pretty much guarantee that it will be for the same problem: failing grades and "i don't care" behavior, the teachers are aware, apparently, that she does not live with us any more, but we are responsible for her for the next 2 months regardless. in april, she turns 18 and she is on her own; until then, they have to come to the parents with the issues they're having.

thing is, if the damn school had listened to what i wanted from the get go, this may not be as big a deal as it's become. and it has become very big indeed.

she's apparently not even trying to manage her time and study -- on her last big a.p. class test, she wrote "i don't know" for every single answer. she's absent more often. and this is the kid who used to argue about staying home when she had 104 degree fever and chills and was throwing up. 'course, she didn't have a boyfriend living in our house.

and now we're even beginning to worry about alcohol and drugs. she apparently likes the taste of particular alcoholic drinks. and the last time i talked to her on the phone to get her to set aside the weekend of dragon*con, she was acting really bizarre on the phone. to add to the problem, apparently one of the parents in the house she's in is a drinker, and a mean drinker at that. yet this child would still rather stay at that house than to live with her family because living with her family means following the rules of the house.

i love my daughter. she's bright even if she isn't wise (and, face it, wisdom is something acquired with years of living for most people), and she's talented. but she's also naïve and stupid and not thinking at all about her future in a way that makes sense. she seems to truly believe that she'll get into a college of her choice even with lousy grades and that her band and singing career will take off as soon as she's out of high school. on the one hand, i admire her determination to hold onto her dreams. on the other, i wish reality would slap her in the face and show her that nothing works quite the way we expect it to or when we expect it to.

seriously, if this kid went on to "american idol", she'd be on of the kids cursing simon and telling the world that he doesn't know what he's talking about despite being a manager for musicians for years before idol even came out.

and i hate that i can't take her back into my house. my son is sleeping at night. we have a much more settled home life, which is what he needs. money is tight, we bitch about mcat's shenanigans, but we aren't having fights every single day. the conflict within the house itself, among the people who live here, is now at normal levels rather than extreme levels because of the tension; bickering, and all out, drag out, pitched battles she had to bring in with her almost every day. we can't go back to that, and that's exactly what would happen if she moved back in here.

but i'm terrified for her. terrified she's becoming an alcoholic and possibly a drug user. terrified she's going to end up on the streets or worse. terririfed i'm going to have a cop at my door telling me my daughter is in jail, missing, or dead. i feel like we've become on of those families you see on "law and order":

"when did you last talk to your daughter."

"oh, ages ago -- years. she needed money, again, and we told we couldn't give her any. she hung up screaming how we didn't care about her."

"and you weren't worried about her when you didn't hear from her again."

"the only time we ever hear from her is when she needs something. i figured she finally decided we weren't worth the effort."

"uh huh." *detectives exchange 'god, how can a parent let it get that bad' looks*

the kicker is that there just isn't anything i can do about it. we tried nice, we tried contracts, we tried behavior charts, we tried strict as strict can be, and all we've gotten is a lot of screaming, yelling, and grief. i have my other 2 kids to worry about. she's making a lot of bad choices now, getting involved in things she swore she'd never get involved with and being served the fruits of her labor (or lack of labor, if you will), and there's nothing i can do about it that doesn't risk my other two children's needs for a stable, peaceful home without the abuse of an older sister who harasses them for not doing things "right" all the time. it's hard stepping back, letting her screw up and fall without a safety net to help her pick herself back up. but it's also what i must do to protect my other children.

she's making her choices. and i just have to let her do that.

word of the moment: feria

(in Spanish speaking regions) a local festival or fair, usually in honor of some patron saint; a weekday on which no festival or holiday is celebrated, particularly in the roman catholic church; a surname

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