Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Testing Day

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and as a gift to me, my town's education system decided to take my child off my hands for a couple of hours and run him through his paces in preparation for kindergarten. I was a nervous wreck. We've already established that my son and I are mightily attached to each other, and this was the first time I would be leaving him someplace without me or my mother.

All the parents and their offspring milled around the entrance to the cutest little elementary school you've ever seen. The kids all took off running to the playground leaving us adults to stare at each other awkwardly, wondering if we should strike up a conversation with each other or just stare at the packets of paperwork we all had clutched in our hands.

I chose to stare at my paperwork. These parents, mostly moms, all looked like such...such...I don't know, responsible adults. Most of them were in mom jeans and flat toed chunky heeled boots...not that there's anything wrong with that mind you, it's just such a mom thing to wear. There I stood in Chuck Taylors with my hair in a messy ponytail, my car the only Civic in a sea of minivans, and they looked me up and down like maybe I was the babysitter. Great.

My friend Wendy had taken her son the day before and gave me a run down on what would happen, so I had already explained to Lucas that I wouldn't be sticking around after testing started. The teacher running the check in asked him his name. "Lucas", he answered. "And what's your last name, sweetie?" "Skywalker," he replied, without missing a beat. Everyone in line gave a little chuckle and the Principal threw his head back and laughed. Oh, I thought, this won't be so bad. And then Teacher Lady decides to get in on the act and tells him, "Who is your father?", in her best Darth Vader voice. My heart sank; I knew what was coming next. Lucas had already started walking away from her, and he spun back around and announced to the entire room in a voice clear and loud that he didn't have a dad. He only had a mom. And as thirty or so sets of eyes settled on me I wished for ground to open up and swallow me whole. When that didn't happen I sort of smiled to the crowd, kissed my kid, told him to be a good listener and good friend, and made a beeline for the door. He's right, he doesn't have a dad, but I'm proud of our family and he is too. And I've told him that all families are different and just because you don't have a dad, that doesn't mean that you're missing anything. That some families don't have Grandmas or Aunts or Uncles, and he has all those things and more. But it didn't lessen the sting in the moment.

In the end, it turns out that he loves his little school and he can't wait to go back. And I got a little taste of what life will be like in the fall. Hours and days and even weeks of alone time to fill with whatever I chose awaits me. I'll probably just pick up a second job, because I'm practical like that, but maybe not right away. Now we wait for his letter, announcing the teacher that will begin his formal education and help shape how he views school and knowledge and learning. And we will spend this summer searching out the world's most perfect Star Wars lunchbox, because it's simply never to early to start looking for the perfect lunchbox.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Memorial Day! I bet every day is a 'parade' when you have Life With Lucas! Be seeing you soon!!!