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Friday, August 29, 2008

The things I cannot do

I missed the first PTA meeting. I missed Back to School Night. I missed the ice cream social. And I think it's all been logged into my permanent file.

It's one week in and I feel as if I've already been judged. And not in a your-such-a-great-parent way. No, this is about me not being like all those other well-groomed parents wearing sweater sets and wiping away tears as their kids walk into the classroom without looking back for one last reassuring smile. I'm not like those parents asking how they can help out and when they can start volunteering as the classroom parent. That would not describe me at all.

I would fall on the other side of the bell curve. I'm happy to only have one kid to take care of for five hours, five days a week now that R is in kindergarten. As a result, I'm just not able to jump enthusiastically into a new role as a school-helper-volunteer filled with responsibilities and expectations when what I really need--at least for a couple of weeks--is a respite. I need just a little bit of time to breathe after being the primary caretaker of two kids for five years.

I'm sure I'm approaching this whole education thing from the wrong point of view. And the wrong point of view--just to be clear--would be my point of view. My point of view that sees elementary school as a government-funded childcare center. One that provides a well-rounded curriculum without depleting my bank account. So I'm happy to have a break five days a week. I'm happy to not be paying several hundred dollars a month for preschool.

Yes, the more appropriate point of view would be the teacher's point of view and the school system's point of view. R doesn't really care that I'm not volunteering in his class or helping out with "arts in action." But from the school's point of view, where they are experiencing a budget shortfall and are at risk for losing art and music and physical education programs, they cannot wait for me to take a breather. They need me to offer up my energy and my time and my enthusiasm.

But it isn't going to happen today. In the meantime, I'll avoid one-on-one chats with R's teacher. I'll avoid the parents chattering over who's volunteering for what committee. Perhaps I'll look into filling other needs, like the request on the wall for antibacterial soap for the classroom. That I can handle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The big K

Many of the women I know have kids starting kindergarten next week. It seems that most of them are feeling quite sad about this milestone because it officially means that their babies are growing up. But just as I was not sad when my kid started preschool, I'm not the tiniest bit sad about kindergarten.

Yes, I'm looking forward to a five-day-a-week break, but mostly I think I'm excited about school--and not sad--because I wasn't sure if my kid would ever make it to kindergarten. He isn't in the hospital. He can walk and talk. He can do math and read. And as of today, he can ride a bike without training wheels. Sure he gets tired more easily than other kids, but for the most part, he will blend right in. For me, it's a relief. We made it this far.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Profound Love Found: Bad news and good news

I recently found a box of love notes in my mother's attic that I saved from junior high school and high school. They are jewels from my past. I love that many of them are folded in the proper way that notes should be folded before being shoved into the slots of a metal locker. Kids today have texting. They have MySpace. They have the instant messaging. But there is no paper trail. There is nothing to happen upon 15 or 20 years later. I will be posting these notes here from time to time. I will even include the typos. Without further adieu:

Dear Suzanne,

How are you? I'm fine. I have some bad news and some good news. I now you like me alot - But I do not like you as much as you like me. You are very nice and pretty but I just do not want to go out with you. I wrote this note not to be mean or anything. I just wrote it to tell you that I do not like you. First maybe we should get to know me and get to know you before I ask you to go out with me or if you ask me. I am trying not to hurt your feelings but maybe later in the year I will no more about you. I hope we will be really really really really good good friends. I do not no what to say because I think I tolled you what I had to say. I now you are going to ask me why I do not want to go out with you.

Your Good Good Good Friend Greg S...
P.S. I am sorry

Greg and I did not become "really really really good good friends." If anything, after this rejection letter, I'm sure I avoided him at all costs.

Love: 0
Heartbreak: 1