For those of you that are keeping track of my ADHD/Aspie son Clark Kent’s rocky path toward high school graduation this year, I wanted to let you know that the ceremony is June 9th. Clark Kent will participate. The question is whether he will get a signed diploma, an issue which used to bother me a lot, and lately stresses me out less and less.
The latest bombshell Clark dropped on us was that he had completed only 2 of his 3 online make-up courses. “I thought this one was two credits, the whole year of physical science. Turns out, there’s a separate course for the second semester,” he said.
You’d think this obstacle would have been almost insurmountable. Luckily he had turned in his other two classes early enough (because his mean mother set a household deadline, just in case this kind of emergency arose) that he was able to pull off the whole semester course in two weeks, with a final grade of 89. I was happy for him that he finished. Part of me mourned the opportunity for him to learn. Each time he snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat, he completely misses he life lesson. He reconfirms that he is no mere Clark Kent, but rather he IS Superman.
A few days later, he said, “Um, Mom, I have a confession. Something I haven’t told anyone else in the world.”
My stomach lurched. “Think carefully before you speak,” I said, wryly.
“I didn’t apply to any other colleges except Texas A&M,” he said.
Never mind that he had lied to me and sworn he applied to his back-up schools, and that his dad had paid for his application fees. Never mind that he had MIRACULOUSLY been accepted to Texas A&M. The horror of “what if” flashed before my eyes. Call me callous, but I am planning to enjoy my break from parenting Clark full time, even if it only lasts one glorious semester that ends in academic ejection (which I am praying it won’t). His revelation meant that he could have ended up living at home and going to community college, not because he had failed to graduate on time — which we had decreed would mean he stayed home his first year out of high school — but because he had failed to secure a spot in a college out of town.
His Superman grin stretched a mile wide. I screamed bloody murder and held my head, partly in jest. He grinned wider.
The next week, he told me, “Mom, I’m going to be busy on Saturdays through the rest of the year. Just wanted you to know.”
“I have to do credit restoration in order to graduate.”
“What??? I thought you turned in your last online class???”
“I did. This is because of all my tardies. I have too many to graduate. But that’s OK. I just do community service on Saturdays and they forgive them.”
Well, I couldn’t say I was surprised. We had told him to straighten out his attendance issues over and over. I had retired from the job of standing at the bottom of the stairs and yelling for him to get up, every five minutes for an hour each day. We had warned him that absences and tardies could block graduation. Just the week before, he had finally rolled out at 9:45, with me on a conference call with a client, glaring at my boy-man, holding a finger to my lips. The week before that one his girlfriend had actually walked to our house from hers two miles away to wake him when he wouldn’t answer her calls or texts, to drag him out of bed for an Advanced Placement test (which he had informed me was “a piece of cake”). Would the alarm clock turn out to be his kryptonite?
“But I have good news,” he added.
“I would love some of that,” I said. Truer words I had never spoken.
“The counselor said if I pass my finals, I’ll graduate. And all I really have to do is show up, because none of my teachers is giving a real final.” He all but flicked his red cape over his shoulder, as he stretched up to his full height of 6’4″, the top two inches of which is a perpetual case of hair-standing-on-end.
We have ten days to go until graduation, if I let him live that long!