When it comes down to making a choice based on what hurts more; well how much does that suck? I don't know if she's still going back and forth or if she's still finally landed.
Her dad came to pick her up yesterday and in conversation two things came out. She holds so much, as if all of it rests on her shoulders. Suck it up, girl.
This is a girl's story. It happens. In high school or middle school or the lower grades, there are ways to pull yourself out or you do learn to cope. There are coping mechanisms and for the most part they're called social skills. Then you deal with outright bullying and that's something else entirely but in terms of taking shots at the public school system, what I'm talking about goes on right past school and into the workplace so you either learn to deal with it in your formative years or you deal with it later or you keep yourself to yourself which is also an option. And I mean that; being the way I am I often find it better to keep myself to myself. I could (and often have) do that at work but I currently have an agenda so I've dusted off my social skills and put them back into play. I digress.
Last year our carpool situation worked out just fine. It was a bit rugged but it was ok. M drove both girls into Stamford 4 days a week. Not the most optimal situation but she works 8 - 4 for the school and that time of day the 20 mile drive isn't so bad and even coming out isn't terrible. The girls came home on the bus to M's house and life was good. They spent every day after school together and apart from one other girl in her own grade, M's daughter was Elizabeth's best friend. I picked them up 3 nights a week on my way home from work. That was a lot of driving but it was OK. On weekends we split it between the three of us and managed to get the girls into some of the bigger carpools so we didn't have to do all of it. We worried about how much M had to do but M NEVER complained about it.
Then M left her husband and the girls went to school the next town over, 2 girls left the school and the carpool dynamics changed. Elizabeth was the only Weston girl left which meant she had to be picked up separately which actually shouldn't be that big a deal because the car should go right by our house. I can't think of any other way that makes much sense. So now J is doing the drop off 4 days a week and it started out with Elizabeth's dad coming come from the city early (think about what that takes) to come all the way into the woods to pick up all the girls and take them back to Stamford. He can't do that if he's already coming home half day early to take Elizabeth to see a doctor or her orthodontist. He does that to support me. J, by the way, who was only doing 3 days a week at that point refused to do any weekends and M had only done one and Elizabeth's dad did everything else except the once a month I did. Following this? Elizabeth's dad was suffering some sort of misplaced male guilt because two fathers refused to participate. Reverse sexism or something.
When Elizabeth's dad couldn't do the Friday drop-off or pickup (he did that too, he just stayed and waited), even though it was explained, clearly, J literally interrogated Elizabeth on the way to dance. Where is your father?! Why can't he drive on Friday? I can't do this! There was plenty of warning. When Elizabeth's dad had a heart attack, this began: (every single day) How is your father? Has he gone back to work yet? Every single day the answer was the same. He is fine. He went back to work weeks ago. And yet, the interrogation continued. We had no idea until yesterday. Here's the thing about this. We made it perfectly clear, in an attempt to reduce Elizabeth's dad's stress level that he would not be doing any more Friday drop offs or pickups. J never accepted that. So let's torment Elizabeth Every. Single. Day. until maybe something changes. You just can't make this shit up.
Elizabeth's friend and J's daughter. J's daughter is a bonafide mean girl. I listen to what comes out of the backseat on the way home and I'm horrified. I listen to what comes out of M's daughter's mouth and I'm horrified. Elizabeth has lost her friend. There's nothing to be done about this. Periodically they take shots at Elizabeth while I'm driving. Elizabeth ignores them. I cut J's daughter off at the knees the other day. Maybe I shouldn't have done it but I'd had enough. Normally Elizabeth would have been mortified. She was too emotionally exhausted to care.
Periodically J stops speaking to Elizabeth entirely if her dad or I won't do what J wants us to do. It takes awhile for Elizabeth to tell us anything like this. Now I just start asking if I expect there's going to be an issue. I didn't expect an issue over the email about the rearranged schedule because it didn't really affect J. The only thing that happened was that Elizabeth's dad was doing Friday pickups. What he's not doing is coming out of the city early to do the drop-offs. My guess is that threw her over the edge.
The email went out at 6 PM. The pickup was at 7 PM. Elizabeth kept asking J questions thinking maybe J didn't hear her. She really needed the rehearsal information. I'd asked her to make sure she got it. J acted like she didn't exist. This woman is 50 years old. If she hasn't outgrown this shit now, she's not going to outgrow it.
And then the dropping of the final shoe.
Elizabeth. J is chaperoning the Paris trip.
Let me see that email you sent. Let me see it right now.
Well that's not so bad.
No, it's not.
Actually, Mom, I think M is going to come too.
Elizabeth, I am not going to Paris with you. I have no desire to live through your dancing and you really do not need me. You're 14 years old and for the love of god there will be more than enough adults to handle 6 minors. I happen to know the mommy of the two little girls is going and the mommy of the hopeful is going and Cynthia is going so that's a one to one ratio. Also, I have been to Paris. I didn't care for it. There are far better places I'd go if I were to spend the money. Also, I have spent the last three and a half years listening to J, who knows jack shit about ballet, even after all this time, arm chair quarterbacking all of this and if I had to spend two weeks listening to that I'd lose 10 lbs the hard way. Or punch her. Or both. I can't condone violence.
So, Mom, how do I get out of this?
We talk to Cynthia.
Can't we just walk away?
Because you just don't do that after all this time.
So I finish The Nutcracker and just don't go back after the first of the year.
What she doesn't know is what the calendar really looks like. There isn't much time left. What she doesn't know is that I haven't figured out when and how to tell the carpool debacle and protect my daughter.
There is only 1 more Saturday left in the year because the next 2 after that belong to the Nutcracker and then there is Christmas break. The next Saturday in the city is mine. There are at least 12, possibly 14 classes left (not counting the December 6 class in the city) depending whether there are any classes the week of Christmas. Her last class could conceivably be December 19.
How miserable will she be in those final 3 weeks? The right thing is to give the carpool as much notice as I give Cynthia.
So just to be clear - this is not about the carpool. The carpool and the girl shit has just been noise, crappy, yucky, painful noise and there's been more (we can start with two 12 year olds in the back seat shrieking like 8 year olds to and from dance except when I'm driving which prohibits any sort of homework focus and the continue into the studio with subtle bullying) but all of that could be shrugged off and to be honest, the kid has the ability to cut people to shreds. I've witnessed this, uh, talent. She just chooses not to exercise this, uh, talent because she's right, it's generally not effective in the long run, causes more problems in the long run than it fixes. Generally.
This about the tipping point. What hurts more.
- The loss of a dream
- The loss of dancing every single day (except Thursdays and Sundays)
- The loss of academia (this actually matters to her)
- The loss of her music (this really matters to her)
- The loss of a social life
- The loss of things like mock trial and whatever that UN thing is (I am NOT a bad mother)
- An insane carpool situation
- The loss of her friend
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- The loss of discovering who else she might be
- The physical restrictions on her life because dancers don't EVER risk their bodies or do anything that might develop the wrong muscles in the wrong ways.
I'm sure there's more.
Oh, Elizabeth. I'm so sorry. But do you regret a single hour?