Rox is a single mother to a 7-year-old superhero and Doctor Who fanatic (okay, he gets it from her!) living in the biggest little city and blogging about her journey here at Unintentionally Brilliant. She has about 5 novels in progress and dreams about completing one before her son goes to high school. Professionally, Rox works as a program coordinator for a university and a freelance editor from home. She loves writing but is terrible at writing about herself in the third person. She hopes you won’t use that against her.
Last month my son had his first performance of first grade. He stood with his classmates and sang several songs around the theme of “on the farm” with a huge smile on his face. It was timed perfectly so I could attend on my lunch break and return to work without missing a beat. The look on his face when I arrived was worth it. I was so happy that I could be there.
This month they had a “poetry picnic” where the children had memorized a poem and would perform it in front of the class. The difference with this performance is that he would be doing it solo. All eyes would be on him. At least until he was done reciting his chosen poem.
The teachers were going to clear the desks out of the classroom and spread picnic blankets on the floor for lunchtime. Each child would stand up, recite his or her poem, and then everyone would enjoy some shared desserts. It sounded like such a fun idea.
Until I realized it was on a day that I wouldn’t be able to sneak away for lunch. There are just some of those days where I have to work at our secondary location and it just doesn’t work out to take a lunch away from the building. This was one of those days.
I didn’t mind that much, at first. I had heard T practice his poem time and again. I knew he had the perfect creepy inflection in his voice to fit the drama of The Deadly Eye by Shel Silverstein.
And then I had to tell him that I would have to miss the performance.
He cried. And cried. And cried. He told me he would be the only one without a parent in the classroom. I told him that was impossible. There would most certainly be other children whose parents wouldn’t be able to make it. He was upset because he would be performing by himself, so it was different from the song fest I had attended before. This was the “only” poetry picnic he would ever have. And I was going to miss it.
I shed some tears as I hugged him tight, reassuring him that I had tried my best and I just wasn’t going to be able to make this one. I hugged until he let go first. And then I told him that I would see if one of the other parents could record his performance so I could see it while I was at work.
That brings me to the thing I “can’t say.” I can’t say it enough. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to the mother who recorded my son’s performance and sent it to me so I could enjoy it while I was at work. Thank you to the parents who regularly (or irregularly) volunteer in the classroom and help out the teachers when they can. I can’t be there for every performance, and I can’t really take time off work to help corral 36 first graders (although, honestly, I’m not sure I would want to).
And thank you to the teachers, who have helped nurture my son’s love for learning and have put up with all of my emails sent after hours because we can’t seem to find a conference time that works for all of us.
I can’t say it enough: THANK YOU.
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