My son is tiptoeing around me, asking questions about my blog and my race, trying to break the ice. He knows I am still angry with him.
I agree to bring him to his Saturday practice, alone, another touchy subject because he never arranges a carpool.
“I’m not pleased with you,” I say. “We still have to have that talk.”
“I know,” he says.
He had stayed up until 4:30 in the morning on a school night putting the finishing touches on a chemistry project, Skyping with a high-achieving friend. This questionable decision led to his not meeting other responsibilities the next day.
“And I’m not pleased with Dan either.” My other son has lost his computer privileges one week after getting them back because of letting his grades slip. He hadn’t felt like studying for a quiz. But he’s on crutches due to a stress fracture, which puts him off the track team for the season, the team he was so excited to join just two weeks before.
“And I’m not pleased with daddy either. And I don’t want to run that race today. And I know that none of these are real problems, so I feel terrible.” I “have” to run an obstacle race later in the day because I was asked on my “Say yes” day, but I feel I am the only one who has to live under crazy self-imposed rules.
I am sloshing in a pathetic stew of hormones that will subside within a few days.
“So you feel sad about feeling sad?” David said. “That seems like a vicious circle.”
I saw the first world problems video a few months ago, and I’ve felt guilty and inspired ever since.
“And at my book club meeting last night I heard about this woman I met through tennis who is friends with the book club women….”
I pause, struggling to contain my emotions.
“Mom,” my son says, touching my shoulder.
I lose the struggle and burst out crying, the left lens of my broken glasses steaming up. I am afraid the lens will fall out if I try to clear it because it is held in precariously with Super Glue. I broke my glasses the other day, and I only have an expired pair of trial contacts as an alternative because I somehow failed to schedule an eye exam and cannot get a new prescription for contacts until I do.
“And her daughter just got home from surgery on her skull because, I don’t know, ten years ago or so a nanny apparently smashed her head when she was a baby and she had brain damage and is lucky to be alive and the nanny never admitted wrongdoing and somehow served only three months in jail.”
I blurt out: “That’s real problems.”
We drive the rest of the way to the courts in silence.
“Thanks,” my son says. “Good luck.” He grabs his gear from the back seat and walks away.
And I drive away, grateful.