I don't want to bore you with the gory details but the long and the short of it is:
Daughter, making her way in life on thin ice, doing surprisingly well, even through recent break-up with first love, still managing classes, part-time job, deciding where to live over summer, chatted on the phone last night from her current Economics Professor's, twice her age, home, where she apparently spends every Friday night, yes, all night, talking about her breakdown, diagnosis, past, present, future, you heard it right, all night, every Friday, for four weeks in a row now.
I kept the conversation to myself until Eric and I were in the backyard starting the flower planting project he'd mapped out for us. The sun beat down and beads of sweat popped out on his forehead as I babbled on and on about the phone call. His face grew deeper and deeper shades of red as the hour wore on and I started to wonder if he'd remembered his sunblock.
"The thing is," I said reassuring myself, "she's really so much happier, maybe he is just a good sounding board for her."
Eric stood and I watched as he filled his lungs to capacity and then slowly let out the air through pursed lips while using the back of his forearm to wipe the moisture from his brow. Inhaling a second time, Eric threw the trowel into the dirt, like a knife stabbing a slab of meat, and suddenly his hand was on the back of my arm leading me into the house.
Over the kitchen counter, my denim clad bottom took ten quick and hard strikes with the wooden cheese board that I really should keep further out of reach.
"You need to quit playing dumb, Amy, " he said, "and think like a man."
My butt was on fire and I was having a hard time concentrating on his words as I was still in shock that this story had somehow landed me into this position.
"I've been a man my whole life," he continued, "and I guarantee you, Mr. Almost Forty Years Old Professor is NOT a good sounding board for your naive pretty little daughter."
"You don't know that for sure," I countered.
Whack, whack, whack.
"Say that again, Amy Lynn," he dared and I bit my tongue.
"You think it's normal for a professor to have his much younger female student over to his house?" he demanded.
"Well not really," I said, "but when I was in college I went out with a professor or two."
Whack, whack, whack. The example did not work in my favor.
"Oh for God's sake," Eric exclaimed, "think like a man, Amy Lynn."
I reached back to rub a cheek but was told exactly where my hand needed to remain.
"I'm going to run through the list of things that are wrong with this picture, " Eric stated, "and when I'm done, if you still think everything is cool, I'll go back to planting, and won't say another word."
Suffice it to say, I will not be sitting for the rest of this weekend. Eric's list was quite long and that paddle made it's mark after each one of his points. My personal feminine naivety and creative rationalization of the possible innocence around this entire situation is gone and I have been taught to think like a man.
Decisions have been made. My daughter is coming home for the summer. Period. She is not to go to her professor's house again. Ever. She can finish the last three weeks of this semester but the Dean is getting a call from me on Monday.
I've never put my foot down like this before but when I reminded Eric that she is over 18 and this could backfire and really upset her, I got another round with the paddle and spent some time in the corner while he forcefully dug and planted his way through our yard.
This is not easy and quite frankly, I don't like the way men think! That said, I am extremely glad Eric is here to help us over this hurdle....