Monday, October 27, 2008

Is this for a grade?

It's single parent week here. My oldest has rehearsals for her high school musical (HMS Pinafore) all week, after school and in the evening. She just "broke up" with the guy she's been dating (he texted her and said "very well, will you do this, or should I?" because, evidently, there's no such thing as no-fault dating, at least in the local high school). My youngest has started a chess club and has soccer practices in the early evening, culminating in the end-of-season tournament this weekend. I have symphony rehearsal tonight, and so had to finish grading my pile of papers (I finished! Just now!) because I couldn't work on them into the evening.

I should feel like I can't do any lasting psychological harm to my kids, since I won't see them all that much. But sometimes I get a bit snappish when I'm running on little sleep and there's so much chauffeuring to be done. Then I think of this poem:

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Well, too late for that. They'll just have to go on being had. But I can work on not handing on too much misery this week at home. They're in 8th and 10th grade, after all--that's misery enough, if you think about it. Especially when we all have to get up an hour and a half before sunrise to start our long days.

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