Some people care too much. I think it’s called love. ~A.A. Milne
Where to begin. How about in chronological order. To be honest, I’ve been so upset as of lately, I didn’t feel like rehashing these events in writing until now. I figured I record the good, so to be realistic I should record the bad, so to speak.
I know Kyle is growing up, and he’s finding himself, his likes and dislikes, and he wants to be his own person, and have his own voice. All of that I’m very happy about, truly! However, he can’t possibly think he should be allowed to do whatever he wants, when he wants, how he wants to do it. Nope! A little independence, sure, complete freedom with a bad attitude and disrespect, never, ever.
Kyle has been giving me a big attitude for some time now. His newest thing, is to ignore my phone calls and text messages. Something I’m sure is a learned behavior and will be addressed in a big way down the road unless corrected. That’s the first item of disrespect. Then, he was only visiting my parents when he wanted something, strike two. Again, we love Kyle with all of our hearts, and we love seeing him, and spending time with him, even if it’s only for a short period of time. But to take complete advantage of our generosity and kindness, not cool.
Moving on. Everyone who knows me, knows there are two topics I NEVER budge on, church and school (showering and brushing teeth are also a couple others, but in my eyes those are mandatory acts of living that sometimes causes arguments and we work through them quickly). I learned long ago to pick my battles, and those are it. Whether Kyle likes it or not, in addition to being his aunt by blood relation, I’m also his godmother and an adult figure who’s been an integral part of his life from the beginning. I was specifically chosen by my brother, Ryan, to raise him Catholic and it’s my job to carry out Ryan’s wishes. A part of that is to keep Kyle on the path of moral responsibility and goodness, which I’ve been trying to do.
Next topic of conversation is school. I’ve talked about that before, many, many times. I worked with Kyle to get him into kindergarten at a young age, I helped pay for his preschool, and I’ve always made him accountable for his report card and homework, at every grade. My intent was not to be mean but the opposite. I care so much for Kyle, I only want the best for him, and if that means not taking the easy way, I’m there. Seeing Kyle reach his potential and having no regrets has always been my goal.
I’ve never really said too much on Kyle’s clothing, music, hobbies or anything allowing him to be self expressive. I do get on him about his video games, only because he spends way too much time in those mind sucking virtual worlds. Speaking up and creating balance is for his own good.
About three Sunday’s ago, August 23rd to be exact, I wasn’t in the area to take Kyle to church. Next in line is my mom, who was suppose to be my voice and presence when I’m working. What did Kyle do? Knowing very well my mom is a push over, he basically told her he wasn’t going to church, and my mom didn’t argue! I was livid! Now take that a step further, when I called and texted him about the first day of school, on that Monday, he didn’t reply. I simply wanted to wish him good luck and to hear his voice. Would that teenager give me two seconds of his time, even through a text message? Nope. Ignore. Here we go.
Now after a week of no word from Kyle, Saturday, August 29th rolls around. The Olczak family reunion. My sister came home, as did Kyle. I had work to do on the computer so I skipped out, but from I was told, Kyle helped my mom make the Haluski and assisted with the setup. Cool deal buddy! That’s what I like to hear. See how this roller coaster ride is going, down and up, and it continues.
Once he came home from the reunion, Kyle carried a small bit of an attitude, but nothing serious. I talked to him for a few minutes, which went fine, even though he tried to avoid me, knowing I would bring up church sooner or later. It was at this time, I knew I needed to break it to him what his official birthday gift was.
A math tutor! You got it, remember A Dip In the Grades. Yeah, well I didn’t forget. In passing, I simply told Kyle, “We’re going to 9:30 am church.” He rolled his eyes, and then I heard my sister chime in, “Why do we have to go so early?” She’s never been like the rest of the family, minus my mom. We’re morning people. Anyway, with conviction, I replied, “I don’t care what mass you go to, we’re going to 9:30 and then he has his tutor meeting.” Kyle’s face was priceless. Immediately I added, “Instead of taking you to Cedar Point and spending money on a day in Pittsburgh with your friends, because of your attitude and your grades, I decided to buy you a math tutor. Happy Birthday!” It was only for a split second, but I definitively caught a grin on Kyle’s face after announcing “Happy Birthday”. Naturally, I sported a huge smile myself. It was kind of funny. What melted my heart was Kyle’s grin that looked exactly like Ryan’s. For a split second, Ryan was standing before me. Then Kyle opened his mouth and Ryan disappeared.
Sincerely, I didn’t expect Kyle to get upset about the tutor, nor did I care, but he did. In fact, he was really mad! He kept grunting and whining about the tutor and arguing with me. Another funny. Kyle, nearly raising his voice inquired, “Why do I need a tutor?” I gave him a sideways look and said, “Come on buddy, I think you’re smart enough to figure that one out on your own.” For a second time, he turned his head so I couldn’t see, but I did, and a grin surfaced. Now that’s the Kyle I know and love. He was somewhere in there, but the dark side wouldn’t let the old Kyle out. Yikes, the internal temporal.
Kyle really took the news of a tutor hard. Again, something I wasn’t expecting. I watched him storm around the yard, and it looked like he was texting or calling someone. I didn’t give a fig. He screwed up, and I wanted to help him out of his wrong turn. I mean that’s why he has adults in his life, so when he messes up, someone is there to help him out. Right?
At one point, during an argument about the tutor, which incidentally continued ALL night, Kyle started to give me his list of excuses.
Kyle: “I didn’t care about my grades because I knew they didn’t count for college.”
Me: “If that’s true, then why was math the only subject you tanked in?”
Kyle: No response.
Kyle: “I only got a bad grade because I wasn’t doing my homework. There was too much and I didn’t want to do it.”
Me: “Then you really don’t know the subject, which is the foundation for all your future math classes.”
Kyle: “I do! I know Algebra II. Why do I need a tutor?”
Me: I turned toward Kyle, looked him squarely in the face before admitting, “Kyle! Because I seem to be the only one who seriously cares about your future! I want you to have a choice of anything you want to do in this world. I want you to choose whichever college you want to attend. I don’t want you to struggle with your future subjects. I want you to feel good about yourself and show everyone just how smart you are! I love you dearly, that’s why.” I couldn’t resist, I added, “Happy Birthday buddy!” That’s the instigator in me.
Kyle: No comment. Maybe a slight smile but he was holding strong.
Me: “Kyle it took me a while to find this tutor, I especially chose her. She’s a Greater Latrobe High School math teacher!”
Kyle: His eyes got big and the look of “O crap” appeared across his face.
Me: “That’s right buddy, I’m not messing around. I didn’t get you a student, I got you someone who can handle your teenage attitude and really knows the subject.”
Kyle: Still holding strong. “Why do I need a tutor. I know math.”
Me: “Buddy, if that’s true, then prove it. Let the tutor tell me that you really know the subject. I’m not doing myself any favors paying for a tutor, I’m not benefiting from this. I’d be happy to cancel the lessons.
Kyle: No comment.
Kyle sighed, grunted and stormed off. I know deep down, he thought he would win, yet he knows I’m not being unreasonable and he’s in the wrong.
Now onto Sunday. First things first, church before the tutor. The saga continues…
P.S. I carefully chose this quote, it wasn’t by happenstance. You see, A.A. Milne authored the Winnie-the-Pooh books.
When Kyle was a tiny tyke, he had this teething ring Winnie-the-Pooh, which contained a button to play music. Kyle loved that toy! I believe that’s when I first realized how much he loved music. He would bounce his head to the sweet tune of the plastic key chain. Sometimes, we’d simply sing, “Winnie-the-Pooh… Winnie-the-Pooh…”
A little bit of trivia. A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher was given a teddy bear on his first birthday. For Kyle’s first birthday, he received a king sized quilt I made him out his of his dad’s (my brother) tees and flannels shirts. Anyway, Christopher called his bear, Edward Bear, before renaming the stuffed animal, Winnie-the-Pooh. The first Pooh story was published four years later. Children do make the world of difference in the lives they touch. They’re also great inspirations! I too wrote a book, young adult, for Kyle. I guess there are others out there as blessed as I am, to be inspired by such love.