Such are the often overlooked joys of Parent Imperfecthood…
The PI arose after getting something close to adequate sleep. The children got out into a bright, sunny day–albeit it, a 28 degree day–without a hint of rancor.
He went with Connie into the Hernandez as he does most days. As always, the third graders were grouped around their lockers, being children before having to go into class. Hugo came running up to the PI, excited about something on a paper he was holding. The paper asked him to specify his “hero or role model,” and he was quite proud to have chosen, “God.” The theological discussion tempted the PI, but, instead, he only asked how the boy had chosen his hero. H was not ready to answer that one…”I’ll think about that…,” came the answer.
Next to Hugo was Marisol, and she, too, was proud of something. The third graders are each doing a project on an animal and Marisol is working on the zebra. She was holding out two really impressive drawings of zebras that she had copied, not traced, from her book. Dumbfounded by the artwork, the PI asked to see more and M produced three equally fine pencil drawings of lions.
“Son lindos, los dibujos, pero yo pensaba que estabas estudiando la zebra,” said the PI.
“Yeah, but he (Hugo) is doing the lion, so I did some for him, too.” Hugo launched into a story about how he saw Christopher, a lion at the Franklin Park Zoo, eat a seagull that got into his area. Two other kids came forward to show their drawings of la lagartita y el zorro rojo, before Connie interrupted to give the PI a paper with the date of his upcoming conference with her teachers.
After saying goodbye, the PI went into the principal’s office to send Liz a message with the date of the conference. These days, the PI does things RIGHT NOW, or they tend to go away. A bag and a coat on the couch next to the Principal’s desk indicated that she was around today. As he realized that he hadn’t seen her for a few days, the PI heard voices coming from the Assistant Principal’s office. He hardly recognized the Principal’s voice, which was very hoarse. “She must have a cold,” he thought, for a moment. They were having the usual conversation about some test scores and their implications for English Language Learners. The PI completed his message and rose to leave.
As he passed the open door of the AP’s office, he saw that the conversation had stopped and the AP was standing next to the Principal putting in an earring that had apparently fallen out of her right ear.
“I can’t get it back in,” said the Principal, as if to explain.
“This is now going into my resume,” said the AP, still funbling with the earring.
“See, he can’t do it, either,” laughed the Principal with the laugh of someone who treasures the opportunity.
On most days, with most principals, the moment passes without notice. On this morning, with this principal, it was unforgettable. Such are the overlooked joys of Parent Imperfecthood.