Visiting Day at School
Written by
Ann Hudock
April 2016
Written by
Ann Hudock
April 2016
On Friday, the kids’ school hosted “Mothers’ Visiting Day.” It’s tailor made for picture perfect families. The headmaster makes inspiring remarks, the mothers’ association discusses all the activities they do on campus, the choirs sing, and then the adoring mothers follow their accomplished sons (this is an all boys school) around campus. There’s even a professional photographer stationed around the mascot so you can have family photos taken. Here’s how it went down for us. I had stayed up really late the night before and drank two very large glasses of wine, since our monthly wine delivery had arrived that day. It seemed a perfect way to kick off a long weekend since I was taking the day off for “Mothers’ Visiting Day.” In spite of that, I woke up very early to have a work call with colleagues in Ghana, and when I hung up the phone it was time for all of us to head out the door. The net result of the wine, the lack of sleep, and no time to put on make up meant that I had small slits for eyes and looked very unlike the perfect mothers whose toned bodies and bright eyes put me to shame. In a surprising move of organization, I had asked the older boys the night before which classes I should observe, since I needed to divide my time between the upper and lower school. One didn’t care and the other had a clear plan. When I shared with Luke when I would be coming to the lower school, he sobbed and said “I thought you were spending the whole time with me.” Such a metaphor for life with multiple kids. No matter what you do it is never enough. Erma Bombeck once said that your favorite child is the one who needs you the most. I’m not sure Luke needed me the most but he definitely wanted me the most. With a lot of effort, I thought we negotiated a good plan. But when the assembly ended and we were making our way to the Upper School and I tried to say goodbye to Luke, he cried. Other mothers saw what was happening and tried to take Luke under their wing, which made Luke want me more since he’s an introvert. He clung on to me while Thomas called me to follow him to the classroom, and I feared letting go of Luke almost as much as losing Thomas in the crowd and not knowing how to find his class. We were not off to a good start. I finally calmed Luke and made my way with Thomas to science where we were learning about seismic waves and tsunamis, and did a very cool experiment with Slinkys that I didn’t understand one bit. But I loved the teacher since he could sing the Slinky ad jingle and I figured any man who remembers that “Slinkys are fun for girls and boys” probably knows a thing or two. All was going well until I took a picture of the cool graphs and accidentally hit the Siri button on my IPhone. Twice. Thomas really lost it when I glanced at my emails after posting the photo on Facebook and said I wasn’t paying attention. With the amount of money I’m paying for his tuition I thought I had a free pass. I hobbled down to the lower school on my stilettos, having ignored the school’s advice to wear comfortable shoes, to play “Math Jeopardy” with Luke and prayed that the answers the boys came up with in our group were right because I had no idea how many more flowers Tim bought for his mother than David. I just hoped the moms in the word problems weren’t getting carnations since it didn’t seem like the kids had a lot of money. Alec’s classes were fun and his Spanish class included a profound poem written by a Nobel Laureate at the end of his life. He was lamenting his choices and said that if he could live life again he would walk barefoot more, eat ice cream instead of beans, and admire the sunset. As we made our way to the dining hall for a school lunch, I kicked off my shoes and felt the spring grass and warm earth under my feet. I put extra cheese on my plate even when all the other moms had salad, and I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the boys, all the way until the sun set on the school lacrosse game. I didn’t even freak out when Thomas peeled off for a last minute birthday party and missed the family photo by the mascot, or when Luke climbed the mascot to stand beside the bear rather than on the ground next to it. No matter how imperfect we are, I will never live to say I regret a single one of our choices.

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