The Day is Shot

“Why do you have all these sex channels on your TV?” My mother bellowed from the living room as I stumbled out of bed.

“What sex channels?” I responded with a mix of confusion and worry.

“Every channel I turn to is sex. You let your kids watch this kind of television?”

This is the challenge of being home all the time.  Weekend visits from my mother spread well into the week days. The lines between Sunday and Monday are blurred. The separation between day and night, blurred. The difference between visiting and “living with,” blurred!

“You let your kids do whatever they want?” she calls from the kitchen.

My real fear is that my 9 year old has unlocked the parental locks and recorded, or worse yet ordered numerous pornographic channels from our satellite TV provider. I am more concerned with the bill I will get in the third week of October, listing the numerous erotic playboy channels, and X rated movies, then I am by the fact that my kids are watching amateur sex videos after dinner.

Before I even reach the living room, my mother is reciting the titles of the programs off the channel guide.  Mom and Dad are Having Sex, Circumcised Cinema, Sex with the 1000 lb. man.  Relief washes over me when I realize that she is looking at Discovery Health and MTV. I explain that these are cable networks and she has the same channels at home.

“Nooooo Way!” she protests as if these channels are unique to my home or that I must be paying for a special “sex” package that includes Discovery Health.

“I have to get the kids up for school. “ I say trying to change the subject.

“Your kids are getting some education.  I wouldn’t let them watch this crap,” she yells, and then she adds, “Before you know it they will be home again.”

I go to wake up my boys and indulge them in a few minutes of one on one time before they get dressed and head out the door.  My mother passes the doorway and asks how we have so much time to sit around in the morning when they have to get to school. Ignoring her, I try to quell the boys concerns that nanny may never leave. I pull them closer and frantically whisper under the blanket my own desperation.

“I have no idea when she is leaving but we have to remember how lucky we are that she cares so much about all of us.”  I am briefly caught off guard when the blanket is abruptly pulled off the bed and my mother utters with contempt,

“What the hell is going on in here?”

Everyone is dressed and walking out the door. A feeling of dread rises within me when my older son walks back in the house after 10 minutes and claims the bus hasn’t come. He is nervous and starts giving me his morning timeline of where he should be if the bus had come. I call the bus company, the school, the Department of Transportation, all while my 200 pound son begins to tick and twitch that the bus will never come and he will never catch up on everything he missed and he will be blamed for all of this.  At almost 13 years old, he looks more like a twenty year old and yet as his eyes water up, and the tears roll down his cheek, I hold his unusually large head in my lap and comfort him.

From the kitchen, my mother calls out, “What if you weren’t here, what if the bus never came?”  Did I notice that no one called me back? My son shutters as he tries to hold back the tears.

“I’m not even going to get to read my paragraph on the president.  I won’t be able to hand in my Spanish homework. I’m missing Social Studies. How will I get the assignment for tomorrow?” moans my son

I am desperate to get him out of the house before my mother robs him of his last shred of hope that he may ever attend school again.

My mother calls to me from the kitchen. “Well, he never should have gone to this school, it’s too far away.”

I can hear my sons sobbing turn to loud groaning as if he is in labor.  I reach for the phone and try every phone number I can find in the parent’s handbook. The bus company dispatcher claims that the driver is unable to be reached by phone, and then says he should already be at my house. As I try to hear the dispatcher’s explanations though my sons sobbing and groaning, my mother interjects several worst case scenarios as she stands in the doorway mentally wringing her hands.

“No one is going to come and get him now.  What if this happens tomorrow?  What can the school do, it’s not their responsibility?  What can you do it’s not your responsibility?”

I know I have no choice. I must drive my son to school. As I pull on a baseball cap and sweatshirt I hear my mother in the kitchen, talking mostly to herself.

“What should I do?  It’s too nice to stay in. It’s too scary a neighborhood to walk outside.  How do I work your damn TV?  What am I going to do here by myself?”

Would you like to come and see his new school?” I ask as we walk out the door.

“I can’t just get up and go.  I need lipstick.  Do you have a brush?  How can you not have a brush?  I can’t show up without my earrings.”

Moments away from my head exploding, I remind her that neither she nor I know anyone at the school. No one will care what we look like. I grab my keys and walk out the door, my son’s sobs still audible. Just before I open the car door, I take my sons tear stained face in my hands and kiss it, reassuring him that he won’t be in any trouble.  

“What is he carrying on about?  If he had a father, he wouldn’t be acting this way?” My mother screams at us from across the front lawn.

It’s only 9:30am and my mother reminds me that the day is already shot.

“By the time we get back, the kids will be home from school.”

As we drive the 30 minutes to my son’s school I feel the mounting pressure that I should be at home on my computer looking for a job. We drop my son off at school. I feel as though I have lived a hundred days in the last two hours.

“So what are we going to do the rest of the day?” asks my mother.

I feel my anxiety rise as I realize my plans for the day no longer include finding a new job, so I suggest we check out the new Good Will Warehouse.

“Don’t feel like you have to entertain me,” says my mother, followed by, “Why are you going to fill your house up with more junk?”

I need to look for a job.

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