I don’t know how many times I have made the statement about the lost “parenting manual” nobody gave to any one of us when our children were born. I thought that was kind of cruel and unusual punishment until I discovered there was a second volume that I didn’t even know existed. “The I don’t know” manual. I am starting to figure out why it’s been hidden in the lost archives since the beginning of time…we would never have kids.
Here’s what I am talking about. I have 8 kids at home from 9 to 18. When my kids were little, every once in a while I would look for that parenting manual as I was totally at my wits end. I thought that having a family was going to be a cake walk and I was going to have a perfect life. The joke was on me.
My children are perfect examples of the I don’t know syndrome.
I have an 18 year old son. I had really high hopes for him. He decided that he was a man at 17 and moved out because he didn’t like being told what to do or having rules. For a while, he he was living in his car. Of course I found out and when I finally saw him, I asked him how that was working for him. His response was “great!” I took a breath and replied ” “well son, I am happy for you.” A few months later, he decided to give his sister some life advice about understanding how she has no clue what it takes to live on your own. He explained that he thought it was going to be so easy and cool living on his own. In the end he ended up living on the street and she’d better think before she did anything in life because she was going to end up kicked out and living on the street just like him. I confronted him about this conversation and asked him “whose fault is it you are living like this?” His response? “I don’t know.” I wanted to reach out and strangle him. (Metaphorically of course.)
Then I have the other 18. He’s totally opposite of number 1. He’s quiet, well mannered, good in school, brilliant kid. Has his life planned out…he appears to be on top of things. When I recently asked him “How hard is it to clean your room?!” His response was “I don’t know. I don’t try it very often.” In turn I shot back at him with “Who the hell is going to clean up after you in college, a maid?!” His response was epic. “I don’t know… Hey! That’s a great idea mom. Do you have any friends close to campus?” Me….ugh to the 12th power. I don’t know.
Next is 16 year old, pregnant daughter. Me: Hey, I need you get on birth control. I can see your getting pretty chummy with b.f. her reply was “Right mom, not going down that road.” A couple of weeks later…”You have a doctors appointment this afternoon. I want you to get on birth control.” Really mom?!” She neglects to show up for 3 appointments. , I made her an appointment, put her in the car and said, “Let’s go for a ride.” She was stunned when I pulled into the clinic. I had been having a gut feeling and as we got there, the pit of my stomach just ached. I wrote it off. She had to do a pregnancy test before they would start it. The nursed asked “Are you sexually active?” Of course the response wax “NO!” She refused to give a urine sample. Claimed she couldn’t. She drank so much water she vomitted…I asked why she was so reluctant. Her answer was “I don’t know.” Two weeks go by. We go back to the clinic. This time, I make her hold going to the restroom for 3 hours before we go and I bought her pop. She comes back positive in 2 minutes. I bite my tongue. We go into the office. The doc tells her the news…he then says “I thought you weren’t sexually active? How did this happen?” Her reply? “I don’t know.” Here she is 6.5 months pregnant. I have asked for 4 months “What’s the plan? You’ve decided to keep your baby. Who’s going to pay for it?” Of course she answers “I don’t know.”
Next is 15 year old. He’s a good kid. Runs on the track team. Very funny, sweet kid. He’s also my mischievous kid. Recently, we were having a discussion about grades and school. He’s been bucking doing any homework. I’m giving him the whole mom lecture and ask him “How are you going to run track this year? I thought you wanted to break another record?” He said “well yeah… but”… dead silence. I ask him to put some serious thought and effort into this and we would talk after dinner. Dinner comes and goes. No kid. Mom goes looking for him. He’s hiding in his brothers room. I ask him to come speak to me. As he sits there fidgeting, I hit him up again. “Did you do what I asked?” “I don’t know.” I ask “What do you not know?” “Anything.” He replied. So I ask again. “What about your track goal?” “I don’t know.” So son, what do you know? ” “I don’t know.” “OK….so would you do something with your friends you shouldn’t?” “I don’t know.” “What are going to do about school?” “I don’t know.”….. “Dammit mom! I DON’T KNOW! OK?! My response? I don’t know.
Then we get to 14. She’s my clicky, heart on her sleeve, mean, big girl. (6 ft. big.) She fell into the bad girls club. That was fun. While getting after her one night, I asked her ” Is this who you really want to be?” “I don’t know.” I proceed ahead and asked that one stupid question. “What do you mean you don’t know?” “I don’t know.” A couple of days later there’s a fight between the mean girls. She’s mad as hell she was the days target. Pissed off so bad she was crying. I asked her if she got the idea of how sometimes she made others feel. Her answer. “I don’t know.” Oh boy did I want to shake that kid. I processed to ask “Are you done with these girls yet?” “I don’t know” (Sigh) “Really?! Did you honestly just say that?” “Well, yeah…maybe…I don’t know.” “What am I supposed to say mom?” My reply..”Honestly, I don’t know.”
Ahhhh. Next is 13. He’s a natural born Einstein, comedian and sarcastic little shit. He is also African American. He carries a streak of mean sarcasm toward his siblings on occasion. At age 10 or so, we were having a discussion about various things. He popped off at his brother with “That’s racist!” I stupidly inquire once again about how he figures that. He tells me “I don’t know.” He proceeds to tell me his brother offended him. I reply “How?’ He sits for a minute and says, “I can’t remember. It was racist though.” “So, he was being racist and you don’t remember how?” The usual reply. “I don’t know.” The situation gets a little tense when I ask again. Then I ask, ” What exactly us a racist?” Roll of the eyes and the comment “Really mom? “You know what it is.” Again I find myself biting my tongue. “Why don’t you elaborate?” He answers with “I can’t. I read about it in a book.” “I know but I don’t know.” “Ok son, the text time someone says something you think is racist, we’ll discuss it. OK?” “So, how are you going to determine what is a racist comment?” “I don’t know.” “What do you know?” I don’t know. Why do you keep asking me?” “Nevermind son. I don’t know.”
We move on to 10. He’s quite the character, full of spunk and a mammas boy. He’s also very dramatic. I was scolding him one day about something he had done wrong. I went into full lecture mode. He quietly sat there and let me go on. I asked him “What do you have to say about this?” “I don’t know.” “Are you going to work on it?” “I don’t know.. I have to ask my girlfriend.” I jumped up and yelled “You have to ask your girlfriend?!” With a straight face he answered proudly “Yep.” I once again went to that stupid question category… “You let her tell you what to do?” Why?” ” I don’t know.” Let me get this straight. If I ask or tell you that you need to change something, you have to ask her?” “Yup” “How the hell did this happen?” “I don’t know. Aren’t girls the bosses mom?” All I could say was, ” Oh my, I don’t know.”
Last is 9. She’s a high spirited, spunky little bucket of sunshine. Always smiling and telling me she loves me. My mini me. I was expressing one time how much we are similar. Even in looks although she isn’t biologically mine. The conversation went on from one thing to another. During our chat, out the blue she says “Hey mom, isn’t it cool that Mel’s having a baby?” My reply was “Not really.” Then we went through the whys…at the end of our talk, came a question I never thought I would hear from my 9 year old. “So, mom? If I kissed a boy and got a baby, would you be mad?” I answered “Hell yes! Why? Have you been kissing boys A? Then the oh so many repeated same answers, popped out of her mouth. “I don’t know.”
On that note, why the hell nobody ever shared the I don’t know manual I don’t know, but it would have been nice. How did my perfect vision turn into this? I don’t know. I thought I have done a pretty good raising my kids. How did I get so blindsided? I don’t know. Where on earth all of the I don’t answers came from, is beyond me but my kids know these words all too well.
Seriously, who knows half of this shit until it goes down at home? I don’t. Where are the manuals that these little creature’s should have come with? What’s the answer to these crazy questions? I don’t know but if I ever get the answers, I’m keeping them to myself. Why? I don’t know but it sounds good.
More Love. Less Hate. H