Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Report Card

Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we? 

Picture yourself in a musty junior high hallway, searching for your locker and quickly identifying it by the faded Lisa Frank stickers that you just had to have along with your Saved By The Bell themed folders.  If today was any other day, you'd walk straight home, nothing weighing on you other than your Jansport backpack and french horn case leaving fresh bruises on your shins.  But today isn't any other day.

It's report card day.

Now if you were like me, report card day is no big deal.  You get good grades, you do your best, and there are few surprises on that small paper that determines your fate.  But as you reach the mailbox and rip into the letter like it's a Christmas present from your least favorite relative that you know has gifted you long underwear or an otherwise social life-killing item, you stop in your tracks and see it. 

Physical Education:  D-

Goodbye, cruel world.  Remember the feeling?  Not the feeling of terror, but the confusion and shock?  The feeling that the paper in your hand, heavy with meaning, was surely meant for someone else?

I remember it well, because I felt it again yesterday.  As I drove up to Cael's preschool for his first parent-teacher conference,  I practiced my lines.

"Yes, I know that Cael is a handful."
"Why, no, I didn't know that he'd glued your glasses to your face."
"Let me know how much that necklace cost.  If it can't be snaked from the urinal drain, we will pay to replace it."

I was prepared.

When I sat down with his teacher, she first handed me his self-portrait.  I immediately recognized his signature pig-nosed artwork from the graffiti he scrawls across the shower walls with his bathtub crayons.  But then the teacher slid his very first "report card" across the table, and I gasped internally at the first words that caught my eye. 

"...Cael is quiet..." 
"...plays well with others..." 
"...follows directions..."

My eyes skimmed over the check marks indicating his mastery of skill after skill, and my brain, clouded with confusion, hung on the words of his teacher as she told me of his timidity and gentle spirit.

The paper in my hand, heavy with meaning, was surely meant for someone else.

But it wasn't.
  As it turns out, my surly and energetic Cael has developed multiple personalities and quickly transitions into an eager-to-please teacher's pet as soon as he enters the classroom.  And just as I feigned interest in running laps or playing dodge ball, perhaps Cael has been pretending to be difficult all along, reserving his true, maternally inherited introversion for the neutral ground of his preschool classroom.

So whether it was an act or him showing his true colors, there is one thing for sure-- he gets an "A".


  1. Love it! And loved seeing your photo at your old house, brings back soo many memories :)

    1. Amy- Isn't that a flashback? It was one of the only ones I could find after age 11 but before college! :)

  2. I love seeing how my kids are when away from home at school or wherever. When they are good away from home it makes all the hard work and frustrations of teaching them proper behavior worth it.

    1. It's a great feeling. I just wish it would bleed over into his behavior at home!

  3. Replies
    1. So I get to blame you for the other stuff too, huh? :)


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.