Reliving Your Worst Nightmares: A Local Family’s Story


May your worst nightmares go unvisited …


It was a Sunday evening.


I was loading up the last of the dishes, my sudsy hands trembling as my daughter called out in desperation.


I, too, called out desperately, but my husband was nowhere to be found. And my teenaged son? He was out, living it up at the Cardinals game, completely unaware of the turmoil back home.


My stomach dropped.


I literally did not know how to handle this on my own.



a crumpled paper with math equations written on it alongside a pencil, calculator, and can of diet soda representing the nightmares of math homework


Eighth-grade math.


It’s not like I’m uneducated, but the math portion of my brain never fully formed. Not to mention, they lie to you in school. Never have I EVER needed to square root anything on the fly, nor have I been stuck until I could solve for X.  Let’s be real. Unless you purposefully seek out a career in numbers, you’re just suffering through unnecessary pain in higher-level math classes. 


Yes, I said it … eighth-grade math is higher-level. 


This was one of those parenting nightmares I had dreaded. I knew it could happen, but I had counted on others being there in the times of greatest need. Yet here my daughter was, sucked into a mess so tangled and thorny, with only me to pull her out.


This wasn’t my role. I knew my place, and it was cushioned with prose, not irrational numbers. The math portion of my brain has gone untouched for so long it’s overgrown. The paths are no longer visible, and truly lead nowhere. Nowhere good. The first problem she was stuck on literally made pieces of my brain crumble into a heap of dust. 


And (crud) she was stuck on more than one problem.


Would we get through this? Could I support my daughter in the way that she needed? Was it possible to work through this trauma together, or would my inability to balance an equation be the thing that tore us apart?


SpOiLeR aLeRt : 


We made it through to the other side of that homework assignment. My daughter is smarter than she gave herself credit for, and I had Google.


But we did implement an emergency homework rescue plan as a result so that we are never caught unprepared again. As soon as my daughter knows she has a tough math assignment, she is to email me from school so I can beg my husband not to leave the house that evening.


Yes, beg.


I will get on hands and knees to ensure we never have to suffer through another math assignment together on our own. Some nightmares need never be revisited.



As we head into this next school year, may you all come out on the other side of this year’s homework assignments unscathed.


That is my heartfelt wish for you.