02 April 2011

You can't escape, you know

The spouse handed me a thin white envelope this afternoon.

I looked at him with certain dread. Thin.

I looked at the envelope. Addressed to me or to her?


I walked over to the daughter, and handed it to her. She made a face of mingled fear and hopeful happiness.

In the days when we were applying to colleges, the spouse and I and our friends knew that the thin letter was the harbinger of doom. Thanks, but no thanks. We didn't really know what a thin letter from a high school might mean. I'd played the scenario over in my head a thousand times already: the reasons why she'd definitely get in, the possibility that she might not.

The daughter started tearing at the paper. I watched her face intently, and suddenly, her expression changed.

Joy overwhelming.

"I got in!" she cried out.

She leapt up from the couch and hugged me.


A couple of years ago, the dentist noted that the son was starting to get wisdom teeth, and she advised me to look into having them removed.

Then, of course, life intervened--the son blew his knee out, twice, and needed surgery. The spouse blew his shoulder out and needed surgery. We traveled. The son was interminably occupied with school. The daughter was interminably occupied with school. The spouse was interminably occupied with work. I was interminably occupied with...everything.

Tra la la.

Anyway, the son started getting restive about the whole wisdom tooth thing when one of them started to break through the gum. We got him in for his consultation about a month ago, and scheduled the surgery for yesterday.

Oh gods.

I know it's not a huge procedure; I had mine removed when I was 19 and they were huge and impacted and the upper ones were in my sinuses, and the deed was done under general anesthesia. Nonetheless, I followed all my post-op stuff and was back to normal in a few days.

(The only bad moment was when I got home and my half-grown kitten, Doodle, decided to drape herself around my neck as a living heating pad or something. I was still too loopy from the anesthesia to remove her myself, and all I could do was lie there and yell until my mother unceremoniously removed my protesting fur collar).

So, I took the son in this afternoon, and he was all finished in a very short time, slumped on a bench recovering from the general anesthesia.

And was he happy.

The nurses were trying to give me post-op instructions and the son was drunkenly talking VERY loudly, and I keep shushing him because I couldn't hear the nurse over his babble. They were watching him with some amusement, and then one of them handed over a little envelope with his teeth. He took hold of the envelope and minutely examined the four intact molars.

"HOLY CRAP!" he yelled.

I don't tolerate profanity from the kids; it's one of those non-negotiables in the child-rearing department, mostly because I'm only too well aware that once you fall into the habit, it's a really tough habit to break.

(Profanity was my only form of acting out as a teenager--I was the easy kid. You wouldn't believe what the other ones got up to--but it still really got to my mother. So I know from experience that it's really hard to break the habit. Also that I really don't want to be that person.)

"Okay," I said resignedly, "Time to get you home."

He rambled on and on and on for another hour or so.

Once the general wore off, he turned into a roaring hypochondriac ("I'm bleeding!" "You just had four teeth pulled out." "But...I'M BLEEDING!"), and I kept stuffing pudding and yogurt into him, along with painkillers, and finally got him to sleep. When he woke up this morning, he was much more himself, and is mostly dancing around the house like nothing ever happened.

This, this, is what it is to be the mother of teenagers. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself here.

Go listen to some music: "You Can't Escape, You Know" from the album The Orange Box (Original Soundtrack) by Valve. The son has a love affair going with soundtracks to video games, and he buys them every chance he gets. This Orange Box is something to do with Half-Life and Portal, and he loves it, and it was terribly appropriate, especially when I started this post last night while he was driving me berserk. I am the mother of teenagers, and I often wonder how exactly did that happen? And then I'm very grateful because I have extraordinarily good teenagers. I mean really good kids.

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