Dear 14-Year-Old Son,
I know you were pissed off at me this morning because I wouldn't write a note excusing your lateness. It seemed so easy to you: A stroke of my magic mommy pen and I'd save you from suffering through an hour-long detention for showing up at class two minutes late.
It wasn't that I have trouble lying. Lord knows I've lied before about why you were late, or absent. But those times, for a range of reasons, I thought you deserved a break.
This morning, though, was different. I felt bad about refusing to write the note, but I still believe it was the right thing to do. Here's why:
1. YOU WON'T WAKE UP IN THE MORNING. Despite the four alarm clocks on your bedside table, plus the kitchen timer and intercom system set at top volume, you won't get out of bed until I send in the virtual torpedoes, and I'm sick of it. I don't like getting up at 6:30 either, but I do it so I can help you get ready for school. You can do your part by getting out of bed.
2. YOU WON'T GO TO BED AT NIGHT. Just before I drop into a coma at 10, I tell you to go to bed and you refuse. Then I tell you not to stay up too late and you agree. Then I'm jolted awake at 1 in the morning by the sound of you tromping around, still online or playing video games. Which leads to Problem Number 1.
3. YOU TAKE FOREVER GETTING READY. The more I try to hurry you through your shower/dressing/breakfast/shoe-tying and homework-hunting routine, the slower you go. And when I warn you that you're going to be late, you scoff at me.
4. MY MOTHER NEVER WROTE ME A NOTE. My mother never even woke up with me in the morning, never mind cooked me waffles or drove me to school.
5. IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO LEARN SOME RESPONSIBILITY. You're the baby of the family, and as such you've been, well, babied. That might have been okay for years 1 through 13. But I don't think it's good for you anymore.
6. I CAN'T CHANGE OTHER PEOPLE, I CAN ONLY CHANGE MYSELF. Instead of yelling, nagging, complaining, and feeling stressed out and miserable, I'm trying something different: not writing the note.
7. I BOUGHT YOU THE APC JEANS, HOSTED YOUR HOCKEY TEAM'S PASTA PARTY, COOKED YOU THE CHICKEN FINGERS YOU LIKE, LET YOU PLAY WU TANG CLAN AT TOP VOLUME IN THE CAR, AND LEARNED TO PLAY WII TENNIS. And I've done enough.
8. I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE IT. Period.
Maybe my not writing the note will help cure you of being late. Maybe the next time you're late I'll cave and write one. But at least now, I hope you understand my reasons.