Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
Damara Hutchins

Holding down the home front

Published:   |   Updated: March 12, 2013 at 05:25 PM

It is almost the end of February and my New Year's resolution to be a better mom is still going strong. There were a few moments in January when I thought there might be some serious issues when I began researching how much a boarding school would cost for my son, but I knew deep down he'd have to keep living with us even if I really wanted to see how sharp he'd look in a military-style uniform.

Both kids came back from winter break determined to basically do nothing in class except distract the other students. My son accomplished this with jokes and talking out of turn, but perhaps a bit more odd is that my daughter would hide under her desk and, one day, decided to hiss at her teacher.

My daughter's actions were obvious, but my son's grades were becoming as bad as his attitude. For the first two weeks of the new semester, the grades didn't populate into the online grade book, but luckily, he was already grounded for a different transgression.

When the grades filled in, they were not pretty. In fact, those grades were the base, bottom-of-the-barrel fungus that other grades stack on top of to rise above and get noticed.

When I approached him in an almost calm manner to inquire about his laziness, he had the nerve to try and use my own childhood excuse against me: "I don't know."

"You don't know? Oh, I bet you do know what you're not doing because you're me, mister. I did exactly what you're doing only I did it better!" I was mad.

A look at his abysmal band grade made every nerve in my body light up with rage. How could he be failing band? His explanation was that he wanted out of band and we didn't let him get out.

Pure hellfire rained down on the Hutchins house that night.

Before the boy began band he was informed many times that he would be making at least a year's commitment and there would be no giving up if things got difficult. When he chose the trombone we stated that, though the instrument may appear to look easy on the outside, there was no truly easy instrument to pick and he'd have to take the time to practice and learn how to read music. He said he wanted to do this.

Quitting was not an option then and it wouldn't be an option now.

I told him that I wasn't going to sit by and allow him to destroy himself because the choices he makes now will affect his future. His dad told him many of the same things. We find a double frontal attack works well.

He's spent the last two months being grounded and under severe homework surveillance. As things currently stand, he's set to finish the semester with 2 B's and the rest A's.

The best part is that he came to us the other day and thanked us for being so involved. He said if it hadn't been for us, he would probably be coming home with F's on his report card.

I was blown away.

In addition to his accomplishments, my daughter has recently told me that I'm the best mommy in the world and when she has a daughter, she wants to copy me. You can say I'm feeling pretty good about this mom business. Let's just hope it holds steady for a while.

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