The Truth About Things

The glamour of my life overwhelms me. I live in a state of delerium. And this is why I do not blog more often right now. It is not because I am writing from sun up to midnight, it is not because I have endless mountains of laundry even though I have just done endless mountains of laundry, it is not the dishes and the driving to three sports, sometimes two sports and a Cub Scout meeting in the same night. It is not the excitement of online book chats or call ins to book groups.

Nor is it the homework that goes like this…

Sunday morning. 8:30 am

‘Jake, I don’t exactly understand your social studies report, the one that’s a big geography map project.’

‘Why not, Mom?’

‘Well, you’ve drawn the map the size of a postage stamp.’

‘Uh huh.’

‘And you’ve got to add 9 landforms–‘

‘You only *have* to do six landforms. The rest can be bodies of water.’

‘Right. But you need to illustrate your landforms with clip art, or color sketches, or pictures from magazines.’


‘So how are you going to label and illustrate nine landforms–‘

‘Only six are landforms–‘

‘On a postage size map?’

‘The map’s bigger than that.’

The point is you’re not going to be able to include a waterfall, a butte, a geyser, a volcano–‘

‘I’m just going to do three mountains and a desert and something else.’

‘Jake. I used to teach social studies. I know what the teacher’s looking for.’

‘I know. We talked about it in class.’

Younger son shouts from couch in other room. ‘I’m hungry.’

I shout back, ‘get something to eat.’

‘Can you make me something? I’m watching t.v.’

Oh. My. God.

Deep breath. And another, Jane. One more deep breath to keep from screaming.

‘Jake, we want to go above and beyond what we’re asked to do. We want to not do the minimum, but really strive for excellence.’

‘Ok, Mom, got it.’

9:45 a.m. Jake redraws the map and brings it to me where I sit at my desk trying desperately to finish chapter 9. The book’s due in less than ten days and I’ve still got 250 pages to write. Not a problem. Feeling good, so calm, thrilled I gutted the book a week ago and started all over again, thrilled that I can model striving for excellence for my children.

Jake shows me his new map with all the intricate little wiggles and jiggles for capes, bays, atolls.

I look at the map he hands me with pride. It’s now the size of a credit card, or a Starbucks drink card.

I study it for all of ten seconds and then count to ten, and then count to twenty. ‘Um, Jake.’

‘Yes, Mom?’

‘How are you going to fit 9 landforms–six of them mountains and deserts and stuff like that–on this map?’

He looks at me with extreme love. ‘Mom, I just have to write small.’

Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

Younger son screams from the other room. ‘Where’s my Pop Tart?’

I bite my tongue. Hard. So hard.

And then I scream.

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