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tough love

True confessions:  I was a devotee of the show.  I didn’t like the drama so much as watching the ladies overcome their problems and confront their demons.  Although, working with your mom in a matchmaking business always struck me as little bit creepy, Steve. Don’t hate me.

This morning, Zac didn’t want to go to school.  Or at least, that’s what I gathered.  He wouldn’t talk.  He skulked down the stairs and into the kitchen. His throat was sore, and his arm, which he fell on in Fitness class a couple weeks ago, was throbbing.

“I have a sore throat and my arm is killing me,” he wrote cryptically on a piece of lined notebook paper.

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” I replied.  “Get ready for school.”

Mean mommy!

See, this happens at least once a week.  Usually it falls on a Monday, with all the inertia of the weekend pulling him back into insouciant teenager-y behavior.  And if Jonathon isn’t home and won’t be for several days, I get to be the heavy.

Zac shook his head.

“What do I have to do to show you I’m not faking?” he wrote, frustrated.  He still refused to talk.

Uh.  There’s nothing you can do, son. You don’t have a fever. The resident Minecraft expert, you stay up late texting and wake up early texting.  You don’t eat well.  You’re sleeping with your window and your mouth open.  Hence the sore throat.  I’m not writing you a note for school if you’re tardy or you opt to stay home.  Period.

I showed him the medicine I was taking for my own congestion and coughing, a Dayquil knock-off.  He carefully perused the directions and poured himself a tipple.  He held it in his hands, peering at it as if it had the answers to the universal questions.  Finally, he downed it, almost gagging.

Who’s dramatic?!

Reluctantly and not alertly, he trudged through getting dressed, gnoshing a piece of cinnamon toast and brushing his teeth.  Not at the same time.

Ruby, so very helpful, wrote a note back to him:  “Zac you can talk you dummy!”

I threw it away.  Only one mommy per family, please!  I talked to Ruby about not “poking” people with our words.  Sometimes people have to learn things the hard way.

This, friends, is tough love.  Zac is almost finished with school for the year.  Summer vacation, clad in sunshine and a tank top, beckons eagerly from the middle of next month.  Zac would like to be there already.  Heck, so would I.  But we need to finish strong and finish well.  School is a priority.

We drove to Zac’s junior high in near silence.  Ruby requested music, so we put on a CD.  Ruby’s hearing is near bionic now, so it was on rather low.

“Zac, can you hear it?” Ruby asked.

“Yeah,” he replied in a gravelly voice.  We glanced at each other.  I had to smile.  The sphinx speaks!

Zac smiled. And the surly spell was broken.

Onward and upward.

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