I am at a complete loss and actually had the thought the other day that if I could just mash the older two together, it would be perfect. It's awful to look at them and think about the first one, "Well, at least he's a lovely, sweet kid," and then look at the second and think, "Well, at least she gets great grades." If we are all being offered a lesson in this, I think I am failing to grasp it just as much as the kids are. And it is no concsolation to hear that my father-in-law didn't buckle down to school until he was a senior in high school and after all he ended up as a college professor. The world is so different today that I can only see that he will be living in my basement forever if it takes him that long to catch a clue (my son, not my father-in-law). And it is no consolation to me that I remember sitting and sobbing in the guidance counselor's office in junior high after my own stab at nasty "mean-girldom" so many years ago. I can hope that my own daughter is through the cutting ugliness after being called on the carpet about it but I am not convinced. And that lazy, socially oriented kid? I have no idea how to intervene now and help him become self-motivated, nor does D. from whom he inherited the social gene (the lazy gene must have come from the pool boy or something).
Given all of this, is it any wonder that I crave an escape in books? Or that I am having trouble finding it? I am irrationally angered by child narrators or characters who seem to have their $#!t together. Ditto parental characters or narrators who have the answers, even if they only discover them on the final page of the book. But I cannot read and wallow at the same time and so I continue to open books and turn pages and live a little somewhere else even if real life often intrudes and insists that I put that book down. I don't have any answers to my situation or to anyone else's. Heck, my brightest idea right now is to sell them cheap on e-Bay or find a mad scientist who can get me back in time for a do-over (although I'm still debating in my head, as if it's a real possibility, whether or not that do-over would mean scrubbing them out of existence entirely or just doing something differently with them). Barring the failure of those two ideas, I'll be the one with her nose in a book pretending the fictional world is real and the real world is pretend.