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A Necessary Truancy

“Is this Amanda?”


“I have your son in the health office – he says he has a headache and is nauseous”.

(refrain from asking if she means to imply he’s making others feel sick, you grammar nazi!  Besides, there are now two definitions for ‘nauseous’)

“Would you like to speak to him?”

Yes please.

Nic get’s on the phone. 

Me: What’s going on?

Nic: I don’t want to be here – I’m having a really bad day”.

I’m seeing this in my head:

And this too:


Honesty really racks up the points in my book.  Honesty will earn you respect, and today earned me using my lunch to leave work, drive to his school and collect him. 

I didn’t need the details yet, he told the truth and from the tone of his voice I got it. 

Sometimes, we just want to go home.  We’re done.  We want comforting and to be surrounded by comfort. 

I pulled up to the school and sprung him.  I got the scoop about what possibly could have ruined his day in the whole hour and 20 minutes he was there.  I won’t share the details – that’s not fair to him, but suffice it to say – he was in fact having a pretty crappy day.

Yes, he needs to learn to ‘decide to be happy’ to ‘soldier on in the face of adversity’ and to ‘not take things so personally’.  But he’s 17. I’m in my 40’s and am still honing those skills.

When you’re a teenager, sometimes it does feel like your entire world is crumbling down around you, and you just want a time-out. 

I am SO very grateful that my son can be honest with me.  Oh, I know.  I’m not so naive as to believe that he tells me everything, and nor should he.  But when it really counts – we’re close enough that he trusts he can tell me the truth and not regret doing so.

Our ride from his school to our house was filled with conversation, observations, lessons and advice.  Of course I stressed the importance of not missing anymore school – about not letting people ruin his day.  That he can’t run away from every problem. About resentments – how futile they are.  Metaphors flowed.  “Nic, resenting them is like taking poison and expecting them to die!”  Concerns were soothed, smiles were exchanged and I felt so very blessed.

No.  He’s not my little boy anymore.  No,  I can’t save him from the world.   But today I could give him a chance to regroup.  To feel loved.  To take a breath and collect his thoughts and I could take a rare opportunity to share some wisdom and experience with him.

When my grandson or granddaughter calls him years from now having a bad day, I hope he picks them up.  Figuratively and literally.  And I’m pretty sure he will.  Because this young man who I am so lucky to call my son – is a kind-hearted, sensitive, funny, bright, loving soul.

All that being said, if he hadn’t told the truth, his butt would have stayed at school. 😉