I love happy endings.
Yesterday had a happy ending.
The Teacher e-mailed me back and said that was just fine if I wanted to pick him up, but they also had an extra costume if I was ok with letting Dino stay. I e-mailed back that was fine with me, but I was still coming in just in case Dino might have a meltdown. I got to the school a little bit early and came into his classroom. Of course the kids were completely wired for sound; actually ricocheting of the walls like super-bounce balls.
The Teacher came up and said to me, “I offered the costume to D and he said ‘no, thank you’ but he does still want to be in the parade. I asked him what he was going to dress up as, and he said he was going to be himself.”
I said, “Great! Sounds good to me.”
The Teacher announced, “Ok, boys and girls, it’s time for us to get dressed for the parade! I’ll help the boys and The Para will help the girls.”
He gave D some coloring stuff to do while everyone got changed, and chaos ensued. At one point, D buried his head in his crossed hands on his desk, and I was worried we might have an impending meltdown. Loud freaks him out. But he looked like he was handling it for himself pretty well, so I left him alone to take care of his own distress. The other kids were getting changed into their costumes, yelling excitedly and running in tight circles not unlike a highly caffeinated herd of Jack Russell Terriers.
Oh, and one interesting note… one little boy dressed up as a girl. What better costume for the budding closet transsexual? Um, yikes. Of course, he got the most attention from all the other kiddies; but much to my surprise, it was fascination rather than derision. He must’ve pulled it off because he was one of the cool kids.
The Teacher had everyone line up for the parade and at the last second, D got up and joined the line, next to last place. The procession, well, proceeded. The Para showed us other moms the short cut out to the playground where the kids would end up. We walked through the gymnasium and down the fire exit to the playground.
Ok, side note? All elementary school gyms smell the same. I walked through the double doors and instantly was flooded of memories of the humiliation of getting chosen last for teams, staggering in last in races, and forged notes excusing myself from the requisite involuntary indignities that is Physical Education. I found myself wishing that I had been able to raise my kids where I grew up so I would see a full circle, bringing my sons back to where I was
humiliated educated. Partially the nostalgia of returning, but also partially so I could go to parent/teacher conferences and say, “See, I turned out OK in spite of your insistence that I would never amount to anything since I was brilliant yet completely incapable of applying myself.” I had a hearing impairment and ADD to boot; and instead of an IEP, I got shamed because I could not be what they insisted I should be.
Oops. That’s a tangent I didn’t intend to go off on. Moving on.
Anyway, we got downstairs just in time to see the 2nd & 3rd graders parading and the 4th & 5th graders supervising. I heart R’s teacher. She’s so perfect for him. She came up and chatted a little and told me how well he’s been doing.
The Rockstar hard at work supervising with the Cool Kids.
At one point, I was reading over R’s last book report, and dang, my kid is good. His teacher saw what I was reading and came over and said, “I hope you understand that a lot of what he writes is not grammatically correct, but I just leave it. He writes just like he talks, he bends the rules a little. His writing has his voice, like you can hear him speaking as you’re reading his work. He’s going to be a fantastic writer, and I don’t want to squash that with red ink.”
I almost kissed her. In a totally non-lesbian way, of course.
Later, we went to the church party. As you enter the party, all kids 7th grade and under can put their name in a basket for a prize. Up front they had an eight foot by 3 foot table stacked with good prizes. Now to get the loot, you gotta go through the puppet show and the singing; ok, no problem, it actually wasn’t that bad. It was pretty loud though, so I had to take D out into the hallway for a little bit where he could watch without protectively shutting himself down. As soon as that concluded, he was absolutely fine with going back in. Next, a guy dressed up as a greenhorn calling himself “Marshal Fife” comes out with a cart with pumpkin on it. I sucked in my breath, because oh hells no, my church better not friggin’ teach my kids that the wages of sin are pumpkin guts. All was well, though, because Marshal Fife (AKA Ben, a really fantastic youth ministry helper, really funny, kids love him) teaches all the li’l chi’drens that the pumpkin is like our lives. As he dug out the guts, he explained that the guts are yucky like sin. And as he lit the candle inside and turned the pumpkin to reveal the cross carved in the pumpkin, he explained that when Jesus is in our lives, he cleans out the sin so His love can shine through us. I audibly exhaled a sigh of relief. Good thing, because I wouldn’t want to have to snap on anyone, all Christian-ly-like, of course. No one better ever tell my kids that they’re yucky inside. Leave the emotional scarring to me. I don’t need you to teach my kids right now that they’re inherently evil inside and give them a completely negative connotation of God. They’ll get enough of that later on in life. For now, let’s leave it at sin is yucky, not them. And God’s primary objective is to take care of his children, like the Heavenly Dad that he is, not like Heavenly Mean Man Just Waiting for the Opportunity to Strike You Dead with Lightning, mmmkay?
Oops. There’s another tangent. Moving on.
Finally, the kids had paid their dues in the form of barely containing their unbridled enthusiasm for their body weight in sugar, and it was time for the drawing. I had a good opportunity to teach them to speak “positivity” instead of “negativity”. As they started pulling and calling names, my kids start muttering. “Look at that big basket. I’m not gonna win. I never win anything.” etc. etc. And I said, “Now, listen, stop that. You speak that negativity, and you give it power. I want you to take that back and replace it with “I hope I win. I might win. I could win.” Of course, at first they looked at me like I had suggested they do double homework for the rest of the year. But wonder of wonders, they decided that mom had been right before and took my advice. Less than one minute later, they pulled R’s name and he ran up and got a nerf dart gun. He came back yelling, “You were right, mom, you were right!” Geez, do ya hafta sound so suprised?! D’s name didn’t get called, and his chin started to quiver, but once I reminded him that there were still an hour of games and candy downstairs in the gym, he perked right up.
We got downstairs and the boys had a blast. They played games and ate hot dogs and nachos. They won toys and candy. And I sat my butt down in the middle of the gymnasium and listened to my iPod. I was ‘home base’. About every five minutes, either boy would run back to me and I exclaimed over their loot and then they’d drop it on me and go get more. And the best part about it was it was all free. No money for tickets for stuff. Free. R kept on saying that they made out like bandits and I finally reminded him that bandits steal stuff, but the church gave them that party to bless everyone. And he tilted his head and looked at me all serious and said, “Man, mom, God is good.” And, that, ladies and gentleman, is one of the kodak moments I had kids for, and so rarely receive. I guess that’s so I appreciate it even more when it does happen.
So don’t you just love happy endings? I just love me some happy endings.
Dude, it took me a couple hours to write this. How am I gonna keep this up for the next 29 days?! What if I get a *gasp* job and have something better to do than relax in front of the computer?!
Rip it, roll it, and punch it, dude. God’s good.