Sunday, July 26, 2009

Be Careful what you wish for....

When exactly do the awareness lights come on in the mind of a teenager? When do they become aware of their surroundings? Emma has been home for about 24 hours and the signs of her lack of awareness are everywhere. Figuring she would appreciate some time to herself on her first day home from camp to catch up after a month of Facebook and U-Tube drought, her dad and I decided to book a game of golf and get out of her way. We must know her well, because when we asked if she minded, she practically started jumping up and down with glee at the thought of having the house to herself. I peeked my head in her bedroom before we left to let her know we were off and all I got was a wee grumble as she rolled over and covered her head with her blankets. "Call if you need anything," I reminded her. She did call me once on the course to ask if she could have a friend over and if she could walk up to Starbucks. "Yes and yes," I told her. So it seemed she was content with her plan for the day and then she called again several hours later as we were stuck in traffic on the way home. "Hi honey, did your friend come over?" "No, she wasn't home." "Did you go out?" "No, I didn't feel like it." "Well, we're going to be late, so fix yourself some dinner." "There's nothing to eat." (I guess the $125 I spent on groceries on Friday didn't count.) "Did you have breakfast and lunch?" "Yeah, but now I just want a smoothie and I don't know how to work the blender." "Can you wait until I get home in about 30 minutes?" "Yeah, I can wait." So, we get home and Doug says, "I can tell Emma's home." "Because the house is a mess already?" I asked. "No, because the place is all sealed up, all the windows are closed." This is the kind of lack of awareness I am talking about. How does one not notice the house is all stuffy? It is summer. Windows need to be open to let the breeze blow through. Teenagers do not get this - at least not mine. I then walk into the kitchen and can see she had Kraft Dinner for lunch (one of the few things she can cook for herself) as the empty box, empty cheese packet, measuring cup and a trail of powdered orange cheese are scattered about the room. In addition to this, there is a large pot with the remaining congealed orange blob of leftovers sitting on the stove. It looks like she only ate about 1/4 of the box judging by the size of the blob in the pot. Does she even really like the stuff? Man, my brother and I could eat a whole box each of this crap when we were kids. My mom of course only ever made one box and we had to share - it was never quite enough. Then again, we were outside playing all morning, burning off thousands of calories playing tag and generally just running everywhere, so no wonder we were hungry enough to eat anything when the time came. I was about to insist she come down to the kitchen to clean up her mess when I detected something wasn't quite right. So, I whipped up a fruit and protein smoothie and took it up to her room to follow my hunch. Sure enough, she is in bed, computer on her lap, with that look on her face. The look all mothers recognize almost instantly. "What's wrong?" I ask. "Sorry I'm not all chipper and everything mom. " It can only be one of two things. She's upset because somebody has hurt her feelings or she is sick. "I'm not feeling that great." I reach over and sure enough, she has a fever and it doesn't surprise me since she told me there were several girls in her dorm at camp that were sick. So, I tell her to stay in bed, she drinks her smoothie and I take the glass to the kitchen along with the glass and plate from her breakfast that are still sitting on her desk. While she was away for the month, I never had to clear a dirty dish from her room, stare down a pot of K.D., spend half my life doing laundry, close her door in disgust or listen to her complaints about the lack of "anything good to eat" in the fridge. (The assortment of fresh fruit on hand at all times does not count.) And now, in addition to that list of thankless tasks, I can look forward to playing nurse for a few days until she gets better just in time for our family holiday next weekend. With any luck, vomit may be involved. Lucky me. I'm really glad she's home though. Really I am.

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