I’m not actually sure what this is about, but maybe if I write it down, it will become clear to me (and you). If nothing else, it’s pretty funny. Also, tweens will kill you.
A few weeks ago I had a brief run in with a woman who lives in our development, which made me a bit reluctant to send Murph to school next door to where I work. Talk about blessings in disguise? Given my reticence and after an unfortunate first impression when we went to “meet the teachers” at said public school, I was fully prepared to cave and give in to Murph’s most vociferous long-term goal of home schooling.
My hair was still standing on end from the experience at the elementary school when I got the call that there was a space at St. Mary’s, the small Catholic school on the island. So instead of giving in to my need for many strong drinks after work as I thought about what home-school for my child would mean, we went to orientation. Murph was in full on Murph-mode, and the first question he asked was about the Angel of Abortion who helped Solomon out with an unfaithful concubine by dousing her with miscarriage dust about which he’d learned from our favorite hairdresser (who does an amazing blow out if you need one and is simply hilarious except for when he’s telling your sponge-brained tweens stuff that will be repeated at the most inappropriate times).
Torn between gratitude that he didn’t go with Jesus is a zombie, and you’re all The Walking Dead (pretty sure the nun at Our Lady of the Assumption bathed in holy water and then retired after he finished kindergarten) and asking if they have programs specific to emotionally disturbed children, I opted to beat the crap out of him with a Tory Burch flip flop then and there, and in doing so give the school the impression that I, and not he, is in charge. Actually, that didn’t happen.
We looked around, and then I had a priestly friend at Daylesford Abbey call and give them the 411 on my spawn. In the truly bizarre way this whole job and move and everything else has worked out, it looks like he will qualify for a “kid with really rare weird medical condition” scholarship that will cover not just tuition and a computer for him but will also dump a huge chunk of money into a college fund he can use to go to a Florida university. Every year. If I can just get him to stop being him, all might be well.
Long story and too much drama later, I thought things in the neighborhood had settled down and went on about my life. Murph started at The Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea. Yeah, Murph in Catholic school. What could go wrong? I kept my place in the summer social sphere at the pool. Murph threw an epic fit when I told him that his first communion at a friend’s dad’s memorial service two years ago did not count and proceeded to receive communion anyway, and I pretended that wasn’t happening. Things were good for about 10 days.
Those of you who are Facebook friends will recall that Murph is having trouble making friends. He has hooked up a with a boy from the neighborhood whose dad is a pilot in the Navy, though. Nice family. And if he’s going to go out on boats and fish and tube and whatever else, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be safer than he is with this guy.
Then on Sunday, there was this:
Me: *watching through kitchen window*
Navy dad: I thought you said your dad was coming. Doesn’t he like to fish?
Murph (pulls urn he talked the Pawn Bros into giving him for .50 last week from backpack and hands it to guy): He is coming. He loves to fish.
Me: *hits floor like it’s an active shooter drill and crawls behind counter*
So I sat there, on the floor behind the counter where no one could see me through the front windows wondering just what he’s up to now.
Because Murph? He doesn’t do these things without a plan. Also, he’s usually three or four steps ahead of whomever he’s manipulating. He’d really begged for that damned urn. This was something he’d contrived. We’d talked before about how it’s easier to tell kids his father’s dead than to explain when they asked. But this? This? No. And I thought he was keeping go-go toys in the urn.
When he got home, I was waiting.
Me (feigning fury as if I had not laughed all afternoon): What the hell was that? Have you lost your damned mind child? Give me the urn.
Murph (nonplussed): I did not lie. I did exactly what you said. And you can’t have it. It’s mine. I paid for it.
Me: (actually furious): Give me the goddamned urn right now or you’re grounded. And you did lie.
Murph: (actually nonplussed): Whatever. Good luck finding it. I’m going to take a bath.
And so I disassembled all of the kitchen cabinets, emptied the laundry room, unpacked all of the boxes that still have anything in them, searched through all of his toys and clothes and squeezed every pillow in the house while he leisurely soaked in a bath of lavender-scented Epsom salts and watched YouTube videos. No urn. I finished destroying the house in my fruitless attempt to locate his father’s remains while he ate an entire pot roast that I thought we could pick at for at least three days and went to bed. I fumed as I contemplated the possibility he’d forced Navy dad into some kind of bizarre burial at sea as I searched the yard with a flashlight and bug spray.
I was awakened by the sound of critters stirring in our fenced yard. Big critters. And so I went into the other room expecting to witness an iguana death match and saw Navy dad and some other dude stacking our kayaks and paddles and doing something to Murph’s bike.
I shook him awake and dragged him into the room where I held my phone camera out from the side of the window and made him watch what was going on. Active shooters would not stand a chance against me.
Me (dramatic whisper like the windows are ever open and anyone can hear): WHAT did you tell him? OMG. Why are they doing this? What is wrong with you? Do you even want to live here?
Murph (sleepily): They’re doing the shit we don’t want to do. You’re crazy. You should be thanking me. I’m going back to bed.
Me: No. No, you are not. You will not sleep ever again until you explain. And give me that urn.
Murph (awake now, perplexed, possibly annoyed): I told them my dad vanished. Truth. I told them your husband got killed in Somefuckingstan helping the military before I was even born. That urn is mine. No way are you taking it.
Me: You! Noooooo! That’s just wrong. You need to tell them the actual truth. And it’s bizarre to carry an empty urn around. Do you want to be the weird kid?
Murph (indignant): I did tell him the truth. Besides, my urn isn’t empty. And in case you haven’t noticed, you moved me to the capitol of weird. It’s a sport here. This isn’t even strange in Key West.
Me (now frightened): What the hell is in that urn?
Murph (cryptically): Ashes to ashes, dirt to dirt. Like it says in the bible.
Then there was a lot of yelling back and forth about all of the things, which apparently did carry through the sound barrier of the walls and windows because the roosters got all involved and started crowing their opinions, and that annoyed the conure who started shrieking at the top of her lungs. I briefly considered adding to the bounty on Louis’s chicken thighs, but then I remembered I had to save up to buy gas because living here is so flipping expensive.
It was almost 7, so we got ready for our respective days, and then he asked if a tornado had gone through the kitchen when he saw the remains of my unproductive search for his urn the night before. More yelling with some threats thrown in for good measure. It kind of went like this:
Me: Give me the fucking urn or I’ll put you in therapy every day after school for a freaking year!!!!
Murph: You’re never finding my urn. And what kind of a threat is therapy? Who threatens their kid with a therapist? You should say some Hail Mary prayers because cursing at your child is a sin.
Me: You didn’t even know what a fucking Hail Mary was two goddamned weeks ago! And why is Amazon suggesting that I need one of these things now? What is wrong with you? *waves phone at him*
Murph: What makes you think Amazon’s algorithms are linking up stuff I’m looking at? I look at toys. That’s more your style. I’m not looking at bug guns.
Murph (now interested): Did you buy one, though? That looks pretty cool.
I drove him to school in the steely Mom silence only a tween can prompt, and I said a couple of Hail Mary’s just in case he had smuggled the urn out in his lunchbox or backpack.
So, here I am, still with no idea where the urn has been hidden or what he put in it to make it feel like ashes. Navy dad texted me and asked if Murph could bowling with them for his son’s birthday this weekend, and I said sure. I guess now I should probably avoid the pool altogether since between the other lady and her husband and this family, I’m pretty much trapped in the seventh circle of hell if I enter that courtyard when they’re all there. Murph and I are still not really speaking, mostly because I feel like I need to get him to give me that urn and also probably because he’s just as happy not to speak to me as to talk to me and is just going about his tweeny life.
Tweens will kill you. Pay attention, anyone who thinks kids are a good idea. And yo mommy blogger bemoaning how much work your toddler is and the oh-so-hard decisions about how to get them to eat vegetables? No, your 3-year-old is not an asshole. Sorry, not sorry, you have no idea. Zero clues. Dad and Buried? Completely unprepared for the Wrath of The Tweens as he thinks a 6-year-old presents challenges. Nine. Nine will stun you speechless. And ten? Ha. Almost eleven? Tweens will kill you. And their fathers.
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If you’d like, and if you can, and oh please, you can make a donation to The Kraken Fund to help pay for therapy for one of us, or so we can move to a new development where I can sun myself like a lizard, or just to keep The Kraken going!