Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day One: Back to School; Back Off!

It’s Jessie’s first day back at Storefront, the two-year public school program she is enrolled in that teaches job skills and skills for independence.

We had planned to have a first-day-back celebration with cupcakes that Dan was tasked with buying on his way home from work. In a rare fit of domesticity, I bought a chocolate fudge cake mix at the grocery store (I can only take domesticity so far) and made peanut butter icing. I was feeling like such a good Mom! Then I got an e-mail from Dance With Alana (where Jessie takes a hip hop class) that offered a series of workshops this week, before the regular session starts. I signed Jess up for the video hip hop (don’t ask me, I have no idea what that might be) and the pop and lock class (I have no idea what that is either, only I know it probably doesn’t have anything to do with breaking and entering because Alana isn’t that kind of woman).

I presume everyone reading this sees what’s coming, but I am still in the first blush of fall back to school and feeling like a generous and kind-hearted parent. Jessie calls on her way home from Storefront, excited because she has NO chores! I proudly tell her about the cupcakes. There is silence on the other end of the phone.

“But Mom,” she says quietly, “I told Dad to buy them on the way home.” “Yes, but I thought we could make them instead. Home made is much better than store bought, right?” Silence again. “Sometimes,” she replies. I try to sell her on making cupcakes but fail miserably.

Then I tell her, all excited, about the hip hop workshop. “But I don’t even know what that IS!” she says. Hmmm. I am detecting a theme here, but I try to sell her on that too. Then I just give up, put on my happy excited voice, and say “whatever!” hoping that it will all come out in the wash. “See you when you get home!”

As I hang up, I realize that I have stepped in too close, re-arranged things that don’t need re-arranging, and without even knowing it, undermined her sense of control and direction. It’s not the growing up that’s tricky; it’s the letting go of old ingrained momhood habits. Wish me luck for day 2!

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