Relax, I am referring to my children.
In my personal life, on a regular basis, when speaking of my children collectively I refer to them as cooties. When speaking of them singularly I refer to them as Thing 1 (my son, the oldest) and Thing 2 (my daughter, the youngest).
My children are so different from one another. They both come from the same parents. They live in the same house. They are exposed to the same things.
Both of my kids really are great kids and strong-willed. Smart and kind; helpful and sincere. I have gray hairs from both.
But both are a mirror reflection of each other.
While one is studious and ambitious the other is careless and laid-back.
Today Thing 2 is home sick. She says she has a stomach ache and is in tears. She is not the kind of kid who is quick to tears so I let her stay home. While she has her head in the toilet, throwing up, the phone rings and it is Thing 1’s school.
Thing 1 was being disruptive in class with his friend and was asked to move his seat. He refused to do so, several times, and landed himself in lunch detention.
Luckily, the husband spoke to the teacher because I am sure I would have used some colorful language because my son, with three weeks of school left, has decided to act like a real asshole lately. (Oh yeah, I called my son an asshole on the internet – do not worry, he has earned it)
The kid has already lost his PlayStation privileges, so there goes the iPod. And this shit is why I go back and forth with him having a cellphone.
Thing 2 has finished throwing up and decides she feels well enough to go to school after I tell her I have a dentist appointment that she must accompany me to. For the people in the back, MY CHILD WANTS TO GO TO SCHOOL AFTER SPENDING THE MORNING HOME SICK.
Who does that? Thing 2, that’s who.
Any opportunity Thing 1 has to miss school he is all about it. If Thing 2 somehow got herself lunch detention I am pretty sure she’d be hospitalized for a massive panic attack.
How are these two kids so different?
I never worry about Thing 2. She is by all definitions, a “mean girl”, but I don’t worry about her. I know her work will be done, and it will be done damn near perfection. (Keeping her room clean is a whole other beast) She can handle herself and for the most part is not afraid of a challenge. She will be okay. Where she is the perfectionist, her brother is not…
Thing 1 on the other hand. I worry about him so much. He is so scattered; if it is not a video game I feel like he has no direction. I have to constantly hone in on him as to what he should be doing. Encourage him to do better than “just passing”. He is okay with being the status quo.
Deep down I know they will BOTH be okay. They will both get up out my house at a reasonable age and they will both be happy in life, at whatever they do. But right now my main job is them – to want them to do better, not for me but for their future selves. So when I have days that reflect so heavily on their differences I get nervous as to what the future really holds for each of them.