Come Home

I was going to write about yesterday, when Buddy-roo came home from school and announced to us, in a panic, that she had a 5-minute oral presentation due for next Monday. The project was assigned to her a month ago, but fell through the cracks of our parental supervision. Some might contend it’s her responsibility to keep track of her own assignments – but then of course, she’s only nine and I know when I was in the 4th grade I wouldn’t have tracked on an assignment of this nature without a little help from the adults. It was her problem, but it was also our problem, as much of the weekend would not be devoted to preparing the assignment.

I was going to write about one night just a few weeks ago, when Buddy-roo ran into the living room after dinner – and after any paper-supply store was closed – to inform us that she needed a life-size piece of blank cardboard. For the next day. She was to perform a skit with two other classmates, and she’d volunteered to bring in the prop: a large poster of Goldilocks sleeping in a bed. Maybe if I were an arts-n-crafts mom I’d have a closet filled with foam board and large cardboard and other supplies. Not that we don’t have a certain stock of creative materials on hand, but a poster-sheet of cardboard just wasn’t part of the instant inventory. Well, it was, but I’d given it to Short-pants the night before, to draw a map of the Jamaica for one of her school reports. That was a bit of a miracle, that I’d saved the poster from a previous year’s exposé on spiders. But two large cardboard sheets out of a hat, this maternal magician could not pull.

I was going to write about the debacle of helping Short-pants to set up a meeting with three of her classmates to work on that very report about Jamaica, ultimately requiring a Doodle poll which still couldn’t unite all the parents in a single conversation about a time and place that would work. The result, a just-under-the-wire meet-up, putting us once again in an at-the-last-minute dash to organize the map on that recycled piece of cardboard, and to practice the oral presentation for the report.

I was going to write about another assignment – it seems every time I turn around Short-pants has a team presentation requiring the juggling of agendas of other students and parents to find that precious two hours to get in sync – this one about rationing in wartime Britain. There was no mutually workable date until the night before it was due, so we scrambled to pull it all together swiftly and memorize the presentation – they have to do the oral part without notes – once again, pulled together, just under the wire.

I was going to write about the last minute demands that make me feel like some kind of short-order mom, and how I’ve had it with them coming home from school with all their I-need-it-for-tomorrow panic attacks. And once again about all the things I have to chase after, scribbled notes in cahiers from teachers for quick turnaround on lost or missing materials and newly required supplies I have to chase around town to acquire.

But now I’m not.

Because while Buddy-roo stood there, holding her map of the south Atlantic states, in shock and overwhelmed by the work she’d have ahead of her this weekend, De-facto read out loud a headline from his Yahoo home page, about the massacre of students and teachers at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. He clicked through and read the details, sketchy still at that moment, but enough to leave us wordless.

So instead, this is what I’m going to write: how Short-Pants and Buddy-roo can come home from school, anytime, anyday, and ask for anything the need, new ink cartridges, erasers gone missing, more glue sticks, cardboard poster boards, help organizing a meeting of their schoolmates, helpful reminders about what’s due and when. I may not be able to rally for them; but they can ask for anything they want and everything they need – even if it’s at the last minute – just as long as they come home from school. Please, please, just be sure to come home.

4 Responses to “Come Home”

  • Harold Wormser Says:

    We are all in tears here in the states trying to make sense of the senseless. Hug those girls of yours for us, and you figure out how to keep them close without smothering them. The parental dilema!!

  • Andy Parker Says:

    I was going to spend time with a friend, organizing the Christmas cards I never get around to sending, but which remain a grail of an activity (maybe this year). I heard what seemed like the only story being reported on the news, and traded it for podcasts of Tom Ashbrook’s “On Point.”

    Last year, the Dad of one of the kids at my daughter’s school was killed. It was shattering. He was someone I greeted almost every school day for three years. He was one man. An adult. When I see his kids-which I do most days–I grieve for them. It’s heartbreaking. Multiplying that experience by twenty wasn’t something I wanted to think about.

    My friend said, “I don’t think I can work on Christmas cards tonight.” I’m not sure she heard my sigh of relief. I couldn’t think about bringing glad tidings. Not last night. Instead, we watched a movie with her nine year old. The movie was a quirky tale of redemption. I needed something to redeem the day. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Neither could my friend. In the end, our sense of it wasn’t important. We looked to the child sitting with us. If she wanted to watch it, we would. If not, we’d find something else. She did. That’s what happened. Last night, nothing else mattered.

    • MDBlogs Says:

      Sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us remember what we already know, doesn’t it? This weekend was jammed with things to do and things to get done, but I tried, anyway, to find a way to pay attention to being with the girls and being grateful for their presence around me.

  • Oceanaddict Says:

    The faces of all the students I’ve taught–all the children I’ve called my own–the school that’s been more of my home than the apartment where I sleep and the community of teachers and children that are my family away from my family, so heavily weighed on my mind all weekend after I heard the news on All Things Considered.

    And since I love them all so dearly and am grateful of every day that I can call my work, My Love, I will always try to keep my children from feeling the anxiety of those last-minute projects, supplies, presentations or just the everyday growing pains I know they experience…as their teacher, I do it just by keeping them close, greeting them each day with a smile and a handshake, high-five, or hug–and a reminder that they can always count on me to be there for them. We are so fortunate for what we have.

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