Preparing for failure at graduation

May 24, 2017

It’s possible I’m a terrible mother.

I have a crisis of confidence in my girl.

She’s supposed to graduate this weekend. Between you and me, I’m not sure she’s going to make it.

I scroll through Facebook seeing photo after photo of students boldly holding up their diplomas.

“Look at what I’ve done!”

Their smiles scream through my screen.

As for our ceremony this weekend, the chances that my girl will come home with a diploma?


It’s not all her fault.

I need to take some big ownership. There was homework that wasn’t completed. Some tasks I was in charge of leading,

“What a terrible mother you are!” I hear you scold.

How could she expose her daughter here in this column.

Hold on.

Daughter is all set.

She picked up her high school diploma last weekend.

It was one of the best days I’ve experienced as a mother.

Cap and gown.

Pomping and circumstancing.

Tears streaming.

I wouldn’t have missed that day for the world.

This is why I missed class for my other girl.

The one who will still be here long after Daughter hightails it for college in August.

Going to Daughter’s high school graduation meant missing the last class of Saturday Puppy School.

This was a six-week course after which I was hoping Pup would transform from crazy Tasmanian Devil to Westminster ready show dog.

Well …

“I think she might be crazier now than when you started this six-week course,” Husband said after my brilliant idea to let her off-leash in the park near our house.

I’ll file that right up there with cooking with hot oil in a sleeveless top and putting my fancy camera on the floor of a taxi in Argentina.

(You know, ideas with good intentions but lacking happy endings).

This might come as total shock to you, Dear Reader (yes, you with the perfect dog).

Our pup — our 23-pound package of floppy ears and infinite belly spots — is, well, a hot mess.

Squirrels, a fresh roll of toilet paper, a nugget of forgotten cat food on the kitchen floor…

Any of these are enough to launch her into Drunk Puppy Crazy Land.

Week Three’s lessons comes flooding back.

“Don’t let your dog off leash,” teacher warns.

This brings me to the final exam.

She will probably sit.

She showed up doing that from the first day.

I’m not sure if it’s natural to one of the 17 breeds that make up her DNA.

“She’s a poser,” Husband assesses.

Heel, stay, come.

My strategy there is the same as when I was in high school and hadn’t done the homework — pray the teacher will grade on a curve.

And then there is the problem of “Down.”

We missed “Down” in last week’s class.

This graduation might end in tears. But not the happy kind.

Good thing I have the cure for despair: Puppy snuggles and kisses.

That, this pup has down.

Obedience might come eventually.

We’ll be taking another round of classes.

Meanwhile, I’m that sucker of puppy mama.

She had me at the first slurp.