Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The Case of the Lying Teen and the Hypocritical Mom April 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:16 AM
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AS THE HANDS on the clock nudge closer to 11 p.m. Sunday, I feel my anxiety level rise.

What has been months in the planning is about to reach a dramatic conclusion.

But I am tired, exhausted really. And for the past hour or more, I have been fighting sleep. I want this all to end so I can go to bed.

Just another 30 minutes, I tell myself, and it will be done.

In the meantime, I need my 16-year-old son to get out of here.

“Caleb, stop reading and go to bed,” I strongly, emphatically, protectively suggest. “You have school tomorrow.”

He lifts his head, turns from the pages of his book to look at me.

“You hypocrite,” he accuses.

I can’t argue with that other than to say that I’m the mom and I don’t have school tomorrow and if I want to stay up late and finish reading a thrilling mystery, I can.

Before my boy heads off to bed, he leans in to hug me. “Where’s your book?” I ask, noting that his science fiction anthology, The Starry Rift, Tales of New Tomorrows edited by Jonathan Strahan, is not on the couch or anywhere in my view.

He smiles a lying grin. “It’s in my backpack,” he says, his smile growing bigger.

I know better.

But what can I say? I am a hypocrite.

Deadly Stillwater by Roger Stelljes

As he heads upstairs, I turn back to my book, Deadly Stillwater by Twin Cities writer Roger Stelljes. The police are hot on the trail of the kidnappers.

This story line is not calming me. I am, in fact, becoming more agitated with each flip of a page.

I close the book.

I need my sleep.

The police will just have to wait until morning to solve this crime. And they do, before noon.

Now it’s Tuesday morning, and my teen is hurrying downstairs for breakfast. I spy a book tucked in the crook of his arm.

“Were you reading last night?” I ask.

“Maybe,” he answers. At least he’s not flat out lying this time.

“Do you have those tests today?” I inquire, referring to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests.

“Yeah, reading,” he says.

“Then you shouldn’t have stayed up late,” I admonish.

“I was practicing,” he shoots back.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling